The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to pair LeBron James with an All-Star free agent this summer, but they’ll get another opportunity next summer when big names like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler hit the open market.
There are already rumors that star free agents like Butler and Leonard don’t want to play with James, with the implication being that it’s hard to play with the game’s brightest star, but James’ former All-Star teammate Kevin Love told Brian Windhorst of ESPN that the positives of playing with arguably the greatest player alive outweigh the negatives.
Ultimately, that’s why Love thinks he’d recommend stars to seek out a chance to play with James.
”You have to be resilient. I had a lot of hard nights. There were dark times,” Love said. “But I always believed keep fighting, I was stubborn about it. And LeBron makes sure you have a chance to win every year. He’s gotten a lot of guys rings. You’re going to win at the highest level. We won and we bonded and we’re going to continue this brotherhood.”
Love’s early struggles playing alongside James are well-documented, whether it’s through his box score stats or various passive aggressive omissions from Instagram posts, or tweets to fit in instead of fitting out. Of all the All-Star free agents James has played with, Love’s endorsement is arguably the least expected, but it’s not totally unjustified.
After all, James did help Love get Love first and only NBA championship. One could also argue that James helped Love earn the four-year, $120 million contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer.
Playing with James and the media circus that comes with him can’t be easy, but if the reward is a championship and a new contract, it’s hard to argue it’s not worth it. The front office is hoping next year’s free agent class feels the same way Love does.
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