By Nick Hamilton | United States
Small forward LeBron James recently left the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign a $154M deal for four years with the Los Angeles Lakers. To play in LA, he took a major paycut. However, he may have just saved the NBA as well.
How, you ask? Well, LeBron was essentially the foundation of the Cavaliers. Nobody facing the Cavaliers prepared for anyone on that team but LeBron. Without LeBron, the Cavaliers certainly aren’t going to be Finals contenders. But he didn’t join a team of Finals contenders, he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s not like our fellow over in Golden State named Kevin Durant who just wants to get a ring on his finger. LeBron will be taking a team who didn’t even make the playoffs last year to the playoffs if he stays healthy, and who knows how far they’ll go?
However, the Western Conference Playoffs will be arguably as competitive as its ever been. With Curry and Durant in the Bay, Harden and CP3 on my Rockets, LeBron James and Lonzo Ball (that’s about all they have to their name right now) on the Lakers, and Donovan Mitchell continuing his great work on the Jazz, the conference is showing tremendous strength. With all of this great talent in the West, there is zero guarantee that we will see the Warriors in the Finals this year. This is absolutely fantastic, because people are losing interest in just watching the Warriors or Cavaliers win it all each year, with no other variation. The NBA is about to get spiced up.
LeBron has saved the East as well. For too long, the Eastern Conference was just dominated by the Cavaliers in the playoffs, even when they weren’t the #1 seed. This will give teams like the Toronto Raptors a chance, along with the Celtics and the 76ers to play in the Finals. It’ll be nice to see the East be even more competitive than it was last year, rather than just the same old drill, with the Cavs winning the conference.
The NBA can expect to make a lot more money this year. LeBron and Curry playing four times against each other during the regular season is not something people will pass up, along with LeBron going up against Harden and CP3 four times. However, I’m predicting that the NBA has at least a 33% increase in viewership this year due to the fact that the Warriors, nor the Cavs, are guaranteed to have a Finals trophy in their hand come June.
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