Charles Barkley believes non-basketball factors drove LeBron James west.
The Basketball Hall of Famer told Sports Illustrated on Friday the NBA superstar joined the Los Angeles Lakers to prepare for a post-basketball life in the entertainment industry. James left the Cleveland Cavaliers last month as a free agent and signed a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the Lakers, but Barkley reckons he did so for business, not basketball, reasons.
“I was hoping (James) would stay in Cleveland,” Barkley said in a telephone interview. “I look at (the Lakers move) strictly as a business decision. He’s on the downside of his career. He wants to be a big Hollywood mogul. He’s going to be driving by the beach every day instead of going through the snow.”
James admitted Tuesday in an interview with ESPN he doesn’t expect the Lakers to challenge for Western Conference supremacy right away. Barkley agrees with James’ assessment of his new team’s chances in 2018-19.
“… (The Lakers) are not even close to a top-tier team,” Barkley said. “They’re a 5 or 6 seed in a best-case scenario.”
While fans might have to wait until 2019 or later to see the real impact of James’ move to the Lakers, Barkley seems to already have made up his mind about it.
Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images
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