You don’t make 8 consecutive trips to the Finals without having some room to talk. And LeBron, now in the West, is using that room to poke a little jab at the Conference he’s dominated for nearly a decade.
In a chat with The Athletic, the basketball phenom described why so many Eastern Conference teams were making so many moves this trade deadline,
“These top teams in the East, yeah they’re going for it,” said James. “Toronto is going for it, Milwaukee’s going for it, Philly. Boston believes they can do it too. They know they ain’t gotta go through Cleveland anymore.”
“Everybody in the East thinks they can get to the Finals because they ain’t gotta go through me.”
It might sound a little proud, but he’s no wrong. Boston, Philly, and Milwaukee are all teams LeBron has beat in his trips to the Finals. Despite having what many would consider a better roster at the time, LeBron would always find a way past them. The East was a lost-cause to any non-LeBron James team.
And with him gone, we’re seeing all those teams make moves, seemingly because it’s so wide open now. The Sixers traded for Tobias Harris, the Celtics are primed to make a play at Anthony Davis this summer, the Bucks recently made a move for shooting big man Nikola Mirotic, and the Raptors traded for Grizzlies’ star Marc Gasol.
With LeBron gone, all of these squads are feeling like they have a real chance at finally make the NBA Finals. But, with the King and his Lakers struggling out West, we’ll see if that same fate awaits him.