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Kobe vs. LeBron, Not Kobe and LeBron

Posted By Josh Hoffman On Nov 11 2009 @ 10:09 am In Los Angeles Lakers | 2 Comments

I recently read an article [1] that suggested the Cleveland Cavaliers trade LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers for the youthful but promising Andrew Bynum.

This isn't the first time I've heard the orgasmic Kobe-LeBron tandem talk and I'm sure it isn't going to be the last.

But I'm also sure Kobe and LeBron will never don the same uniform aside from that of Team USA.

Unless you've been scuba diving for the past few years, it's no secret that – whether the Cavs win their first-ever Larry O'Brien Trophy, fall short of the playoffs or finish somewhere in between – King James will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Depending on how the Cavs conclude the season will dictate LeBron's future with or without the franchise. I see it shaping up in three potential ways: (1) The Cavs win the title and LeBron immediately re-signs with Cleveland; (2) the Cavs advance to the Finals but lose for the second time in four seasons – in this case, the chances that he re-signs are a coin flip: 50/50; and (3) the Cavs fail to make the Finals and LeBron vacates the premises faster than a mother and her newborn child would vacate a burning building.

Since the third scenario seems most likely at this point, LeBron's top prospects appear to be the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets. It is well-documented that he loves the bright lights and basketball mecca atmosphere of Madison Square Garden. Plus, he's always wearing that damn Yankees hat. But really, New York's roster isn't anything to write home about, let alone mention during cooler talk. And with next season's salary cap plummeting even more than it did this season, the reality that the Knicks will be able to sign LeBron and another free-agent superstar without significantly going over the cap is quickly becoming a fantasy.

Then there's New Jersey, an organization with few attractions besides the team's relocation to Brooklyn and rapper Jay-Z, minority owner of the Nets and LeBron's good friend.

Regardless, neither franchise puts LeBron in prime position to rack up championship rings.

Which is what continues to stir the “Kobe and LeBron together on the Lakers” pot.

There's no shadow of a doubt that the two would make a dynamic duo, as well as that LeBron's first of probably many titles would be everything but gift-wrapped and guaranteed.

But here's why LeBron will never become a Laker as long as Kobe is still around: Kobe was the best all-around player when LeBron entered the league. Everyone including LeBron knew that. Now it's a toss-up, but Kobe has one distinct advantage: Since they've been in the league together, Kobe has made it to the Promised Land. LeBron hasn't.

And trust me, LeBron doesn't want Kobe's help in getting there.

Josh Hoffman is a college junior working to become a sports journalist. You can contact him at jhoffmedia@gmail.com.

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[1] article: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/os-lebron-magic-cavs-1112,0,2982488.story

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