A Mad Men guide to the 2018-19 NBA Season

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”  — Los Angeles Lakers

The consensus opinion had been formed. James to LA was a business decision. This was always about LeBron James, the brand, not LeBron James, the basketball player. The flurry of eyebrow-raising signings that followed, while perplexing to some, were ultimately meaningless. And who in Los Angeles should care? They get to watch the best player on the planet — for a few more years anyway — make the Lakers fun again. Their greatness is as cemented as his. No need for a charade.

But a charade is exactly what we got. As general manager Rob Pelinka sat at the dais a little over a week after inking James, he told the world that the signings of Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Clutch Sports client Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were about adding “defense and toughness and depth.”

If the Michael Beasley signing had been made before that press conference and Polinka still managed to keep a straight face throughout, someone should have handed him an Academy Award as he exited the building.

C’mon. The only game LA is beating the Warriors in (this year, at least) is jersey sales. To think anything else is remotely possible is insulting. As the most famous Lakers fan in the world once uttered: “Sell crazy someplace else. We’re all stocked up here.”

I’d write more about the Lakers, but enough words have already been spewed about their prospects for the upcoming season than seemingly the other 29 teams put together. If you’re not tired of it by now, you probably also bought what Polinka was selling.

Or you’re operating on a different plane altogether.