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LeBron effect: What ‘LABron’ means for the NBA?

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By Mark Patriarca

LeBron James’ decision to move to the City of Angels has brought social media into frenzy while causing a massive shapeshift in NBA’s landscape.

James’ signing to a four-year, $154-million contract to the Lakers was way more silent than his previous “The Decision” reveals. James will be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time to join one of NBA’s most iconic franchises.

The four-time MVP is arguably the face and heart of the league today. Every move he makes will definitely have an impact to the NBA. And now that he’s about to embark on another chapter of his illustrious career, this time in Hollywood, what does #LABron means for the NBA?

Ultimately, this move makes the Eastern Conference a whole lot weaker, at least on paper. With ‘The King’ gone, the Celtics, Raptors and Sixers can look to rule over the East for the foreseeable future. With their current core, they would figure to be the East’s top contenders.

For the Cavaliers, they can still salvage a formidable lineup with championship vets Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and JR Smith and build around prized rookie Collin Sexton.

James’ arrival in the Western Conference doesn’t change the fact that the Golden State remains the favorite to win its third title in a row. However, the West got a whole lot more interesting especially with the transactions that have occurred (and will occur soon) on the first few days of free agency.

While the Rockets retained Chris Paul, they lost Trevor Ariza to the Phoenix Suns, which hurts their chances a bit. Meanwhile, the Spurs is on a dwindling state as they are expected to deal with their disgruntled star Kawhi Leonard. The Klaw is the biggest fish available in the market now that Paul George has committed to stay with the Oklahoma City for at least the next three years. Whether Leonard join the Lake Show or not, Lakers is definitely back in contention with James’ arrival. We can assume Los Angeles has shifted into full-on winning mode, regardless.