When LeBron James signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, it signaled that he was prepared to help build something with the franchise. Gone were the days of leveraging Cleveland with short-term contracts. The hope in Los Angeles was the combination of LeBron and the L.A. lifestyle would make the Lakers an attractive free-agent destination.
It didn't exactly work out that way right off the bat. LeBron announced he was going to the Lakers on the first day of free agency, but Lakers target Paul George had already committed to staying in Oklahoma City. And according to Kevin Durant - who is also a free agent this coming offseason - LeBron may still struggle to attract free-agent stars.
Durant pointed at several factors, including LeBron's presence forcing players to change how they play, but his main concern was the media culture. He told Bleacher Report that the constant media attention LeBron receives from "fanboys" will have other players hesitant to join forces with the new-look Lakers.
Durant said via Bleacher Report:
"So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people. He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I'm like, we're playing basketball here, and it's not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn't want to be in that environment because it's toxic. Especially when the attention is bulls-t attention, fluff. It's not LeBron's fault at all; it's just the fact you have so many groupies in the media that love to hang on every word. Just get out of the way and let us play basketball."
LeBron couldn't attract star free agents during his first stint with Cleveland, which played a part in him leaving for Miami. Cleveland built from the draft and through trades when LeBron returned, but most expected Los Angeles to be different.
Durant's theory will be put to the test this offseason when Kawhi Leonard hits the free-agent market. If he signs elsewhere then the Lakers will have reason to be concerned.
Should you block ads? Adblocker