Lawrence: 3-6 "A Problem" For LeBron James

LeBron's Finals record leaves much to be desired, which is why Lawrence sees him leaving Cleveland this offseason

June 12, 2018 - 7:49 am

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Scott Ferrall said it during the NBA Finals, and he said it after the NBA Finals: 

The series was awful. A disaster. Unwatchable.

Forbes and Sporting News NBA writer Mitch Lawrence didn’t disagree. 

“You’re right,” Lawrence said on Ferrall on the Bench, “but (the Cavaliers) were the biggest underdogs in the history of the world, and that’s the way it turned out. It didn’t help matters that LeBron James goes and punches a white board after Game 1 and couldn’t produce other 51-point colossal effort. Forget about Game 4, but what he did in the second half, he basically unplugged himself. It’s not the first time we’ve seen him do that in big playoff or Finals moments. But look, like Steve Kerr said, talent wins out, his team had more talent, and it was a dud of a Finals. What are you going to do?”

Well, if you’re James, you might leave Cleveland. Yes, we’ll be without basketball games for the next couple of months, but NBA free agency will absolutely dominate headlines all summer.

“Because of his stature, because he still is the best player in the sport – even though he’s 33 and he’s played a zillion minutes in the playoffs – when he becomes a free agent, the world stops and everything revolves around him,” Lawrence said. “I’ve said for a long time – and I’ve gotten more convinced – he’ll be in L.A. I think that’s the perfect spot for him (post-career). There’s no reason to stay in Cleveland. He’s got his base of operations (in L.A.) already. He’s got offices, a couple of homes. What are his ties to Philadelphia? What are his ties, other than Chris Paul, to Houston? L.A. makes the most sense.”

Indeed, L.A. makes sense for off-the-court reasons, and it makes sense for behind-the-scenes reasons.

“Magic Johnson and Jeanie Buss, they’re going to cater to his every desire out there,” Lawrence said. “I’ve heard the Spurs are interested. What, Gregg Popovich is all of a sudden going to change the way they do business and they’re going to come in and allow a guy to come in and run things? That’s not the way it works. I could definitely see Magic Johnson working with LeBron James and giving him the type of power he had in Cleveland.”

While James may be the best player in the world, Lawrence took him to task for checking out in Game 4 of the Finals – and for his 3-6 Finals record.

“That’s a huge thing about the LeBron thing,” Lawrence said. “He’s done that several times in the Finals and in the playoffs in big spots. Michael Jordan never did that. He never pulled the plug on himself. Guys like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, they’ll sit there and tell you it’s all about one thing. It ain’t good enough to get there. You got to win. The ring is the whole idea. That’s why LeBron has to leave Cleveland. That’s why he left the first time. He had to hook up with better players because he himself can’t do it. He needs megastars, which he doesn’t have in Cleveland. So right now, yeah, 3-6 is a problem. Fair or not, that’s how these guys are mentioned.”