Time for another diaper change!

You can guarantee one thing about basketball’s LeBron James

Every season, no matter where he is located, there will be controversy and drama.  Sometimes (three times during his career, to be exact) there will be joy, too.

Ever since emerging as one of the final NBA players who arrived in the league straight out of high school, LeBron James’ career has been marked (and marketed) by a litany of annual angst. 

Yes, he won two NBA titles when playing in Miami and another in 2016 after he returned to Cleveland. 

But…

It seems that nearly everywhere James goes to play basketball, there is a trail of coaches and/or teammates who are tossed overboard if the self-proclaimed “King” isn’t happy. 

This year, LeBron took his almost 35-year old talents to LaLa Land to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.  For a guy who dominated in the NBA’s weaker Eastern Conference for his entire career, coming west to Los Angeles seemed to meet a few career checkmarks.

By moving to LA, LeBron James would position himself in the area where he already owned a home.

Next, James would be located in a city where his ever-expanding media profile could grow even larger.  Between basketball and LeBron’s interest in marketing his name in film and television, TinselTown is the place to be.

Lastly, James could (potentially) separate himself from Michael Jordan as basketball’s #1 name brand if he could somehow turn around the moribund Lakers from losers into NBA champions again. 

And what better city to write that story, eh?

After his first year in Los Angeles, LeBron James’ grand plan has started to unravel.  Sure, he may be personally comfortable ($30 million per year playing basketball can do that), and he’s already immersing himself into the television and film production business.

Basketball?  Oops.  LeBron’s appearance in a Lakers uniform this season did not translate into the team making the playoffs. 

Prior to the coming of King LeBron, the Los Angeles Lakers sported a record of 35-47.

This year?  The Lakers improved to 37-45 (just two games better) and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the sixth straight season.   

The one thing we know about LeBron James is that he doesn’t willingly accept much (if any) of the blame.  LeBron’s overbearing presence on the basketball court didn’t seem to elevate his teammates’ performance, while his meddling behind the scenes may have been a bigger part of why the Lakers failed to improve after his first year in Los Angeles. 

Making matters worse, an 80-year old Los Angeles Lakers Hall-of-Famer by the name of Jerry West has quietly managed to dump all of the big-named stars at the cross-town rivals, Los Angeles Clippers.  Instead of going to the bottom, West’s Clippers are in the NBA playoffs right now, while LeBron James sits at home for the post-season and ponders his next move (or movie?).

LeBron James isn’t happy.  History says, “When LeBron’s not happy, it’s time to clear out the nursery room”! 

Already, the Lakers front office has begun to crumble after the failed expectations of this season. 

Before the Lakers final game last week, another Lakers legend, Magic Johnson, abruptly quit his position as President of the team.  He did so without even telling his boss!   In true LA style, Magic held a press conference and explained to everyone else why he thought it was time to go.

He wasn’t having any fun!  Seriously.  So, Magic Johnson walked away after a turbulent season trying to manage the ego of one of the NBA’s best players who also happens to be most difficult personalities to control in the game.     

After the Lakers final game last week, head coach Luke Walton was fired.  Depending on whom you listen to, Walton and LeBron James never got along very well (a common theme in James’ relationships with several coaches during his career).    

Ironically, Luke Walton was immediately hired this week by the Lakers’ NBA Western conference rival Sacramento Kings.  Apparently, other people in the NBA believe that the problems in Los Angeles this season were not the result of bad coaching. 

So, the President and the Head Coach are now gone.  That leaves the Lakers’ General Manager, Rob Pelinka, as the last person standing in a key management role. 

Since assuming his job two seasons ago, Pelinka hasn’t been successful by any means.  Believe it or not, he had no prior experience in his GM job, though. 

Rob Pelinka was an NBA player’s agent prior to being hired by the Lakers!  Yes, that’s the guy who does his best to get as much money for his players so that he, too, makes more money. 

I guess the Lakers felt like, “If you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em”!

He seemed to be the most likely person who SHOULD have been fired, but he may be spared from the current Lakers’ management dumpster fire.

And this is where LeBron James returns to our story.

After running off one coach in Cleveland (David Blatt), James was instrumental in getting former Los Angeles Lakers guard, Tyronn Lue, promoted and hired in Cleveland to coach LeBron and the Cavaliers in 2016.

Lo and behold, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the NBA champions the same year!  

Alas, LeBron left Cleveland last season in 2018 and stranded his little buddy, Tyronn Lue, with a team of Gilligan’s Island-like castaways.  Lue was fired after only six games (0-6 start) with the LeBron-less Cavaliers this season.  

Now, the great puppet master, LeBron James, is pushing the proverbial “Last Man Standing” of this sinking Lakers’ ship (Rob Pelinka) to hire his good buddy, Tyronn Lue, as the new head coach for the Lakers. 

Since Pelinka’s leash is likely short and ownership is fully onboard with the current “All LeBron, All the Time” show in LakerLand, Tyronn Lue should be considered as the front runner for the coaching job.

After that, LeBron can resume pulling Pelinka’s strings to bring in a few expensive free agent players (assuming any significant NBA stars would take the cash in order to play second fiddle to “King” James, that is).

Of course, LeBron could be setting the table to become either the General Manager or even the coach himself. 

Regardless of the short-term outcome, there is one thing I feel certain about. 

LeBron James is going to create more unrest for the Lakers until he gets his “change”. 

The smell coming from the Los Angeles Lakers organization in the past week indicates that someone needs to deliver a new nanny and a big box of Pampers to take care of the NBA’s biggest baby – quickly! 

NBA’s “Let’s Make A Deal” Week!

Now that the NFL season has concluded, it’s time for the NBA to grab the spotlight this week with many teams scrambling to make mid-season player trades prior to this Thursday’s (February 7) 2PM CST deadline.

Some perpetual non-playoff teams will likely be involved in transactions which will make you ask “Why would they do that”?  In many cases, it is probably an act of desperation by a deal junkie General Manager who believes that the new player(s) will give hope for a playoff run.

When you read about deals like this, a collective yawn is in order this week.  In all likelihood, most of the teams making deals this week are simply dumpster diving.     

In the case of the Dallas Mavericks, though, last week’s fishing expedition reeled in a potential game changer.

The Mavericks made a multi-player deal with the New York Knicks to obtain 7’3” sharpshooter Kristaps Porzingis.

For the Mavs, the newly acquired player gives the city some title hopes down the line as they now have two All-Star talents (along with Dallas rookie, Luka Doncic).

For the Knicks, the team now appears to be propelling itself toward the bottom of the standings in an effort to land the first pick in next season’s NBA draft.  If the Knicks should draft Duke’s Zion Williamson and, if, potentially, the team could lure an established NBA star to the Big Apple, then New York fans have been dealt some renewed hope.

In Dallas, the team now has a legitimate foundation to sell season tickets.

In New York, the team is saying “Trust me (again)”.  Caveat emptor.

Meanwhile, there is a big buzz in the air this week that another of the NBA’s top players might be dealt to another team by the end of this week.

Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans advised the team recently that he wants out and will not sign another contract extension to stay in the Crescent City.  The 6’ 11” Davis, who averages 29 points per game and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, believes that the city’s basketball franchise will never be able to bring a title to the Big Easy.

Davis has let it be known that he would love to be dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers and play hoops with the aging LeBron James

According to sources, Magic Johnson (General Manager of the Lakers) has offered up to five of the Lakers’ younger players and two #1 draft picks for Anthony Davis.

For the Lakers and the NBA, the league’s popularity will leap should the Lakers start contending for a title again.

What about New Orleans, you ask?  Why would New Orleans send its best player to another Western Conference competitor? 

Think “big picture” along with me for a moment. 

With the deflation of any hope of short-term basketball success in New Orleans, the Anthony Davis deal may cleverly serve to nudge the New Orleans franchise to move to another city in the next year or two (get ready, Seattle!) as the Pelicans fans turn against the local basketball team.

The current owner of the Pelicans is Gayle Benson, widow of Tom Benson.  The Benson family also owns the New Orleans Saints of the NFL. 

By selling the Pelicans to Seattle, the Benson family could pocket up to $2 Billion for their NBA team while building a virtual moat to keep the city’s beloved Saints as the only professional sports franchise in Louisiana.

The Saints’ star quarterback Drew Brees will eventually retire, and Saints fans could be in store for a few rebuilding years.

If you were the Benson family, why not cash-out and sell New Orleans’ NBA team to a city willing to pay an inflated price, put the money in the bank, and avoid the costs of rebuilding two professional franchises in New Orleans instead of just one? 

The NBA would regain the #14 television market in Seattle while “losing” New Orleans at #50.  The other 29 NBA owners wouldn’t veto that kind of deal, either.    

With Seattle’s new downtown basketball arena now under construction, don’t be surprised to find the NBA’s Pelicans flying northwest soon.

With the NBA’s “Let’s Make a Deal” week underway, watch closely as some teams’ fans will win the NBA’s “Big Deal of the Day” while others will certainly get “Zonked” yet again!

LaVar + LeBron = LeFun time, eh?

The Los Angeles Lakers and legions of LaLaLand’s basketball fans have (at last) finally scored the biggest fish in this year’s NBA free agency talent pool by getting LeBron James to sign a 4-year deal.  LeBron’s decision (thankfully without fanfare this time) to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for LakerLand seems geared toward positioning James for his post-basketball ambitions as well.

Los Angeles’ basketball legend and current GM, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, had promised his adoring Lakers fans that he would deliver big, and he sure did!  Magic’s famous grin must still be beaming after making the biggest deal of this NBA offseason.

The current roster of the Lakers is young.  Really young.  With the exception of “old” Luol Deng (age 33), the 2018 player roster for the Los Angeles Lakers showed that the remainder of this season’s team was comprised of young hoopsters under the age of 25.

Well, they just got a little older as LeBron James will turn 34 in December.

Where does this leave last year’s “the next can’t miss, greatest player ever” Lakers prospect, Lonzo Ball?”

And, more importantly, how are “The King” and Lonzo’s loudmouth Dad, LaVar Ball, going to get along?

SoCal fans better be watching the seismograph carefully, because the verbal rumblings coming from Mr. BigBallerBrand could cause a series of quakes in this new and improved Lakers team quickly.

Back in March, LeVar Ball already got under LeBron’s skin by suggesting that it would be hard for LBJ’s kids to live up to their Dad’s basketball footprint:

“You got LeBron, it’s going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, ‘You got to be just like your dad.’ And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, ‘Why do I got to be just like him? What can’t I just be me?’

It’s an interesting comment coming from a man who continues to bask in the spotlight which should have been shining on his own son, Lonzo Ball.

LeBron James quickly shot back at BigMouth Daddy Lavar:

“Keep my kids’ name out of your mouth,” LeBron said. “Keep my family out of your mouth. This is dad to dad. It’s a problem now.”

Ouch!

So why would LeBron James even consider coming to Los Angeles knowing that he would be playing (for now) on the same team as Lonzo Ball and his infamous Dad?

James and Magic Johnson didn’t just agree to this deal over an In-and-Out Burger one day.  LeBron would not have made this move unless he (as usual) has all the keys to the car.  Magic is a terrific recruiter and promoter.  He promised to bring talented players to the Lakers, and he has delivered.

Player management, though, is yet another thing.

Based on the number of coaches and players who have been chewed-up, spit-out, and sent packing by the NBA’s egotistical but talented basketball star, the one thing you can be sure of is that, for the next few years, this will quickly become The LeBron-geles Lakers.

One more thing.  If LeBron James orders Magic Johnson to send Lonzo Ball and BigMouth LaVar out of Los Angeles, they will be gone faster than you can say Kareem Abdul Jabbar!