LeBron’s roadshow should leave Pelicans aloneby J.W. Miller on 07/02/18
So LeBron is taking his periodic road show to Los Angeles to help revive a moribund Lakers franchise. By the way, “moribund” is an oft-used word by writers who want you to think they are smarter than you are because they use words you never hear in daily use. I don’t think I’m smarter than you, it’s just that I have a website whose sole purpose is to enlighten and entertain my readers. That’s why I use words like “moribund,” which brings us back to the Lakers’ franchise.
According to my Word thesaurus listing for “moribund,” LeBron James joined a franchise that is “past its prime,” “seen better days” or is “on its last legs.” That’s why they signed LeBron James to a contract that gives him four years to do what he did in his first travelogue with the Miami Heat, and also in his second, his redemptive return to Cleveland, where he did it again. Damn, there I go again with words like “redemptive,” which Word.doc tells us that LeBron’s many services to his original franchise include the fact that he “rescued” the Cavaliers franchise, “redeemed” his own honor in the eyes of his hometown fans and “delivered” what he said he would, an NBA championship.
His task now is that his new team has not had a winning record in six seasons, has sustained infighting, turmoil, bad contracts and snubs in free agency while a vulture hovers overhead named LaVar Ball. In February, Ball issued an ultimatum to the team that his son and then-rookie guard Lonzo Ball would walk away from the Lakers when he is eligible for free agency unless the team signs younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo. Thankfully, Magic Johnson threw Ball’s threats on the stack with the other distractions he’s had since threatening his reputation as maybe the greatest Laker ever to become the team president of basketball operations.
What Johnson did do more recently to redeem his record was to drive over to James’ Brentwood mansion Saturday night and for two hours pitch him on how they could make the Lakers great again. [Insert local hook!] Yeah, I got that, so now it’s time to see if the Magic and LeBron plan to take over the universe includes any Pelican free agents.
LeBron has taken it on faith that Magic will sign at least one more high-profile star to help bring instant credibility and, more importantly, victories. This concerns the Pelicans because DeMarcus Cousins is a free agent and might make an attractive pairing with LeBron. In normal times, signing Cousins would be a logical move, but these are not normal times for Big Cuz after he shredded his Achilles in January. The uncertainty of Cousins’ ability to bounce back will likely turn Magic’s attention to other players such as the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard. That increases the likelihood of Cousins returning to the Pels, even on a short-term, show-them-you’re-healthy, deal. I doubt any team would take a chance on Cousins and pay him more than the Pelicans can.
The other task for Pelicans’ management is to bring back Rondo, whose presence calmed an often helter-skelter offense as well as contributing double-digit points, assists and rebounds. Another year or two of running his own team in New Orleans could be his stepping stone to his expressed goal of a head coaching job, and it could help the Pels take the next step in their evolution.
Stay tuned, and my next report will try to eschew big words. Damn, there I go again. I should have listened to my favorite Journalism professor at Kentucky, who had a No. 1 rule of effective writing: Never use any word longer or more complicated than “watermelon.”