Did LeBron listen in free agency?
“In 2010, when he went to Miami, it was about championships,” Paul continues. “In 2014, when he went back to Cleveland, it was about delivering on a promise. In 2018, it was just about doing what he wants to do.”
James was leaning toward L.A. for days, and according to those outside his direct orbit, for months. But Paul rejects the commonly held explanations that James was driven either to expand his Hollywood empire or spark an overnight superteam.
“Doing what he wants to do” is sufficiently vague, but it stands in stark contrast here to “championships” and “delivering on a promise” (which was bringing a title to Cleveland).
Did Paul intend to differentiate it from those other two reasons? Perhaps not. But that’s the easy inference.
LeBron insists he’s still in championship mode – but with this team? The Lakers aren’t built to win quickly, and LeBron’s prime won’t last forever. Yet, he’s not reportedly not pushing the Lakers to add a second star who’d accelerate their timeline. And LeBron relinquished leverage by signing a four-year contract as opposed to the short-term deals he inked with the Cavs.
That’s why it’s hard to turn away from theories about Hollywood connections, cashing checks and – as Dwyane Wade put it – “lifestyle.” LeBron already owns a home in Los Angeles, and his wife reportedly wants to live there year-round. It’s an enjoyable city for a millionaire.
Like every human being, LeBron is certainly motivated by multiple factors.
But his ambitions aren’t being condensed into winning as directly anymore.