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Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal says he thought LeBron James would’ve had a different mindset in his free agency process now that Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have three championships, the same amount as James.
James and Curry have squared off in the last four NBA Finals, with Curry and the Warriors winning three of them.
O’Neal says back in his playing days, he always wanted to have more rings than the other elite players in the league.
“I would have thought because — see, we all have egos,” O’Neal told Nola.com. “When I had my three rings, I wanted to get four before Kobe [Bryant] did. Now, we got four, then Kobe got five. I didn’t want Tim Duncan to get five either.
“So, I thought LeBron’s process was going to be, ‘I got three, Steph’s got three. I’m going to stay in Cleveland, bring some people here or go to a team I can get four before he got four.’ I don’t see it happening, because Golden State just added [DeMarcus] Cousins. So, when I was playing, I didn’t want anyone saying they had more rings than me. Seems to me Golden State is going to get at least two more.”
Many have questioned James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers. The roster is nowhere near ready to compete for a championship in the rugged Western Conference and the Lakers might even struggle to make the playoffs, considering James is surrounded by a lot of young players and guys who don’t really fit well next to him.
After James signed with the Lakers, LA added Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley.
Rondo and Stephenson aren’t good jump shooters, a trait players should have when playing next to James because he’s a great passer and collapses the paint on his drives to the basket. It’s fair to say there won’t be much floor spacing for the Lakers when Rondo, Stephenson and James are playing together.
Lonzo Ball shot just 36.0 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from three during his rookie season. He’s currently recovering from a torn meniscus, but is expected to be ready for training camp.
Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart all have bright futures in the NBA, but how long will it take them to be ready for a playoff battle mentally and physically? If the Lakers make the playoffs this season, it’s doubtful all three will play well.
James is 33-years-old and turns 34 in December. How many more years does he have left of being the best player on the planet? He’s played in eight straight Finals, and even though his body is built like Superman, the wear and tear of all those games will eventually catch up to James.
The Warriors are likely going to win their third-straight championship in 2018-19, which would give Curry his fourth ring and Kevin Durant his third. With James taking his talents to the West, there’s a chance he might not play in a Finals ever again.