Breaking Down Each Potential Landing Spot And Their Chances Of Acquiring LeBron James

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Breaking Down Each Potential Landing Spot And Their Chances Of Acquiring LeBron James

 

The NBA season may have just ended, but the buzz around the league has not stopped, as we are set to begin one of the biggest off seasons in recent memory. With the whole league trying to put together squads to dethrone the dynasty that is the Golden State Warriors, a big piece of that will be the availability of the game’s greatest player – LeBron James. The four time MVP will become a free agent as of July 1st, and the NBA world is eagerly awaiting his next big decision that will no doubt change the entire landscape of the league. Everyone wants a piece of the King, and all are eagerly preparing their pitch to lure the superstar to their city. Several teams have been labelled as front runners, but only one franchise will be fortunate to land his services. We’re about to breakdown each potential landing spot and their chances of acquiring the league’s best player.

 

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly become front runners to land James as this season has progressed. The momentum has grown so much so, that Vegas has the Lakers as outright favourites to secure his services. Now, in my opinion, this surge of momentum for James to land in LA has been pushed by the media more than anything. I say this because in truth, James to the Lakers makes the least sense from a basketball perspective out of all the potential landing spots.

I know what you’re thinking, James does have a couple of houses in California, He does run multiple businesses based out of LA, and there is the factor of James’ eldest son Bronny starting high school next year with a whole range of great schools already expressing interest. This is all well and true, but if people listened to what James said immediately after going down to the Warriors a couple of weeks ago, he not only stated his family will be a determining factor, but more importantly, he still remains in championship mode. This is massively significant because unless an unthinkable offseason occurs where the Lakers instantly turn into one of the clear championship favorites, this move would make no sense from a winning standpoint.

Firstly, the Lakers’ roster would be nowhere near championship level ready even if James was to sign. James would enter the brutal Western Conference, with an inexperienced team that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs in years. They have a young head coach and a roster full of inexperience not only in the playoffs but in the league in general who haven’t been battled tested in the most difficult of situations. Playing next to James is a whole different spotlight, expectation and media attention are a real thing which some players cannot handle. Prime examples of that was this past season with former Laker Jordan Clarkson and dynamic wing Rodney Hood, who both shrunk in the spotlight next to him. James like and values veterans, players he can rely on, players he can trust to produce when he puts them in situations to succeed. He’s admitted in the past he’s not a patient guy by nature, and he’d have to be at his most patient to lead the young guys.

Because of the above reasons, it’s almost certain James wouldn’t sign with the Lakers unless another star or multiple stars signed there as well. The load at 33 turning 34 years old would be too much at this point in his career, so teaming up with star power help seems like a prerequisite for the franchise if they hope to land the King. Adding to what we’ve already covered, when you play for the Lakers the expectation to win is ever present, no matter how unrealistic it may be at any given time. You’re always judged next to other Laker legends, and it’s an unnecessary situation that any superstar may face during their time inside Staples Center. Like we’ve said, James will be expected to deliver straight away because of how great he is, but like all knowledgeable NBA fans understand, it takes a championship roster to win a title, and it’s hard to see them constructing one of those even with his arrival unless something drastic goes down.

We haven’t even touched on if James can be bothered dealing with the drama that Lonzo and LaVar Ball come with, which is another unappealing factor when making his decision. Magic Johnson and James do have a good relationship and hold the highest respect for each other, but it’s going to take a whole lot more than that to bring him to LA. From a basketball perspective, a move to the Lakers makes the least sense for the three-time champion despite the easy path to get there with their cap space.

PROS:
– Business
– Family
– Lifestyle
– Young and athletic team
– Ability to team up with Paul George

CONS:
– No championship experience or pedigree
– Need for patience
– Drama with the Ball Family
– Media circus
– Expectations to win championships straight away
– Western Conference slugfest
– Inexperienced squad in both regular season and playoffs

LIKLIHOOD: UNLIKELY TO MODERATE

 

 

SAN ANTONIO SPURS

It was recently reported San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich will force his way to a meeting with LeBron James this summer, and it’s a great decision from him. What James may not realise at this point in his decision process, is the Spurs should absolutely be in his top two or three preferences to move this summer. The Spurs have found themselves playing catch up with the Western Conference’s heavyweights, as their system has recently succumbed to supremely talented opponents despite how good it is. The injury to superstar Kawhi Leonard last season diminished their season, but it has been a steady trend of theirs in recent years, trying to fight the every growing talent with a near flawless system and culture.

By acquiring James, this would absolutely put them at the forefront of championship favorites for the foreseeable future. The move for both parties makes a lot of sense, and I’m actually surprised it hasn’t gained momentum like it should have. As each day passes, it looks more and more likely Kawhi Leonard will remain in San Antonio, and he will sign a supermax contract, which is good news for James. If they lock down Leonard, James can then sign and form one of the deadliest one two punches we may ever see on the NBA wing. Both players would complement each other perfectly for a wide range of reasons. Firstly, James would play with an elite wing defender and former defensive player of the year. This is significant because Leonard could take on the toughest defensive assignment and interchange with James when he needs a break. In doing so, Leonard would have more freedom offensively when James gives him a breather and conversely, James would be able to torment the opposition on the offensive end as the toughest defensive cover is already taken care of. James has not played with an elite wing defender who is also a superstar for arguably his whole career. The closest he came was Dwyane Wade in Miami but Wade is a guard by nature and was past his athletic prime and on the backend of his overall prime in general. By teaming up with Leonard, the Spurs would possess the deadliest wing pairing in the NBA, and in an era that’s predicated to superstar swingmen, these two would be nothing short of dominant.

Additionally, James would also join forces with a legitimate inside presence in LaMarcus Aldridge. Before you say Kevin Love was that guy, he really wasn’t, as Love’s game became more outside-in than inside-out like it should have been in Cleveland. This is outlined by the fact Love shot just 40% from the field in the NBA Finals, something that is unheard of for a 6”11’ player who is known as a good player down low. With Aldridge, James will have a star presence legitimately inside in the paint for the first time since Miami when he was alongside Chris Bosh. Even Bosh had a more outside game than Aldridge, as he took many more threes and lived out there at times. Pop makes sure Aldridge works from the inside out, and ensures he is always efficient around the basket and inside the paint before he steps out, something that can’t be said for Love during the playing days together. Because of this, the Spurs will also possess a point of difference against the Warriors if they do happen to meet. Despite how good the Warriors are they’ve never had a legitimate big man who operates inside the paint, and James understands that point of difference is vital if he wants to dethrone the juggernaut from the Bay Area.

Perhaps most importantly, by joining the Spurs James would receive consistent help, something he has been absolutely starved of this season. Help will be constant, and wins will be collected easy as the system he’s playing in will continue to put points on the board even when he sits. This will allow James to get the rest he deserves. There is absolutely no way James would lead the league in minutes under Popovich, and he would be fresh for the postseason. If he wanted to call San Antonio home, James, for the first time in his career would play for a hall-of-fame head coach at the heart of a great system.

As we’ve established, James loves stability, and the Spurs are probably the most professional and stable franchise in the association. The low key nature of the organisation would also help with the relentless media attention that follows James, which can only be a good thing. If the Spurs landed James and tinker with this roster a little, they could construct a seriously supreme squad worthy of winning championships for multiple seasons in a row. They always draft correctly so their sustained excellence is almost a lock as well. In my opinion they would have to keep Rudy Gay who could be extremely valuable during a position-less tussle with the Warriors. The logistics of this move make it difficult, with the Spurs having to likely say goodbye to Pau Gasol and Tony Paker, but it’s doable and necessary. If I’m being honest, I’m clutching at straws trying to work out why this wouldn’t be a good move for both parties.

I agree with Chris Broussard when said James at the minimum would win one more championship before he retired if he joined the Spurs. The only things I can think of is how long Popovich may continue coaching may be factor, but it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere any time soon, especially if he had the opportunity to coach one of the greatest players ever. James’ numbers may go down, but again, a minuscule factor when considering the long term gains. LaMarcus Aldridge expressed his frustrations with not being a number one option last offseason, but I’m sure he’d accommodate the arrival of James as well and sacrifice in order to realistically win a ring.

All in this entire move makes sense from a lot of perspectives, but most importantly, from a basketball one. James would play off the ball more (something he’s wanted to do for a while), be a part of a championship pedigree organisation, play less minutes, compete for championships and extend his career well into his late 30s, something Popovich has mastered during his coaching career. That in itself should be a big attraction to James, as the records he will break if he continues to produce at a high level up until his 40s could propel him into the undisputed GOAT status. James has the reputation of wanting to be the boss, but with Popovich at the helm, he would no doubt step aside, have less to worry about and focus on what he’s always been good at, being an all-time great basketball player.

PROS:
– Playing under Gregg Popovich
– Playing with Kawhi Leonard (elite two way superstar)
– Playing with LaMarcus Aldridge (inside presence)
– Consistent help
– Playing in a great system
– Professional and stable franchise
– Less overall load on both ends
– Low media attention
– Playing off the ball
– Extending career
– Playing less minutes

CONS:
– Numbers could go down
– Sacrifices some control
– How long will Popovich continue coaching?
– Western Conference slugfest
– Will Aldridge accept third option role?

LIKLIHOOD: MODERATE TO POSSIBLE

 

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

The Philadelphia 76ers have ascended into the NBA analysts favorite destination for LeBron James this summer. After All-Star Center Joel Embiid joked about acquiring James during the All-Star break, the reality of the King joining the 76ers has steadily become more and more a realistic possibility when weighing up the options. Like them, as a basketball writer myself, I must agree with a lot of those analysts, because similar to the San Antonio Spurs, the 76ers should be in the top two to three landing spots for James this offseason. Like the Spurs, there are many factors both personal and basketball related factors that make perfect sense for this situation.

Firstly, James would stay in the Eastern Conference, a conference that he has dominated in what seems like the beginning of time. Secondly, the future of the 76ers with James on the roster is mouth-watering for anyone living in the city or wants the next super team to dismantle the Golden State Warriors dynasty. The 76ers are young, athletic and hungry to win after years and years of obvious tanking and losing seasons. Not only are they young, they’re extremely talented, much more so than the Lakers roster we explored earlier in this piece. James would join forces not just with talented players, but we are talking the potential of all-time great players here. Ben Simmons is a mini, raw, less established version of James himself, Joel Embiid has the makings of one of the most skilled centers that ever played, and surrounding them both is Markelle Fultz who isn’t even close to his potential, and Dario Saric who is a fantastic young, cerebral European talent in the league. You throw in the pieces of TJ Mcconnell, JJ Reddick, Robert Covington, Marco Bellineli and Ersan Ilyasova, this roster is already directly catered for his playing style with shooters everywhere and the ability to play in transition. Obviously there is likely to be some movement with some of those names to accommodate James, but the nucleus of the supporting cast around Embiid and Simmons will pretty much remain. Not only are these young studs up and coming, their best days are well and truly in front of them.

With this comes the ability for James to remain at the top likely for the remainder of his career. If he joined the 76ers, he could compete for championships until he called it a day in a league, something that must be extremely attractive. Similar to the Spurs again, James will have the ability to play off the ball, something he has wanted in recent seasons. With Simmons already a maestro making plays, James’ ability to cut and slash would be on full display as he and Simmons tear apart defences throughout the league. The other factor is the inside presence of Embiid, who is a nightmare matchup for anyone in the league. If you thought the Warriors would struggle with Aldridge inside the paint, they would lose sleep trying to guard Embiid down low. Like we spoke about, it’s that extra point of difference the 76ers could use to rule the East and possibly the Finals for years on end.

Another underrated aspect that isn’t being talked about is the reputational benefits it would give to James if he happened to join Philly. The city love their sport and with the arrival of James, if he happens to bring success to the franchise, his reputation of winning wherever he goes will be yet another argument for his status as the game’s greatest ever player. Like the other potential landing spots, the 76ers don’t have the winning reputation, history or recent success so if James was to go there and win, he would increase his reputation and perhaps cement himself as the GOAT in doing so. If James could bring a title or two to that city, he could realistically retire as the 76ers greatest ever player. He would then retire the most storied player for two franchises in the Cavs and the 76ers with the Miami Heat not far behind. It could be that significant. This move would also be the most favourable in the public eye, and titles could propel him to unseen heights in league history.

Before you say anything I know what you’re thinking – but James and Simmons can’t co-exist, they’re too similar. This may be the case on face value, but less than 12 months ago we were saying the same thing about James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston. They not only worked out, they turned into the highest rated offense in NBA history. What people fail to understand is coaching absolutely matters with this sort of situation, and Brett Brown is not a bad coach he just needs experience, another thing James can help him along with. The most important thing to remember is truly great players will always figure out a way, and they would no doubt. Like Houston, Brown could alternate the minutes between James and Simmons, with both players only starting and ending the game at the same time. James could hinder the development of Simmons from a statistical point of view, but experience, knowledge and winning mentality would outweigh that tenfold even with the ball in Simmons hands less. In developing under the wing of James, Simmons will also have the smooth transition of completely taking over the team and becoming the outright “main man” when the time is right, something James will encourage as he gets older and sees his greatest pupil destroy the league. In a lot of ways, that will have sentimental value for James in a unique sort of way.

There’s no doubt the 76ers would be great, and would be the outright favorite to come out of the East for the foreseeable future, but how great they can truly be would depend on the health of Joel Embiid. His health is the only thing stopping this from being a perfect scenario for James in truth. If I’m being honest, there aren’t many reasons I can think of to suggest this would be a bad move at all. Especially when considering another huge factor of the potential of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George joining James in Philly as well. George has recently expressed his admiration for James and said he had fun playing with him during their All-Star seasons past, and it’s also widely reported he and James will likely meet up to discuss teaming up. As for Leonard, if the situation doesn’t resolve itself in San Antonio, the Spurs would be open to trades, and the 76ers have a wide range of tradable assets that could entice the Spurs. One suggested is a package of Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington and a future pick for Leonard, which would be a good trade for both parties considering the circumstances. By offering a package like this, it would also avoid the possibility of including either Simmons or Embiid in the deal, then enabling Philly to create a supreme “Big 4” of Simmons, Embiid, James and either George/Leonard if all the cards are dealt correctly.

All in all if James does head to the 76ers I wouldn’t be surprised if another star or superstar follow him. The 76ers make a lot of sense from a long term basketball and winning standpoint for the King.

PROS:
– Young and athletic team
– Playing off the ball
– Staying in Eastern Conference
– Playing with Joel Embiid (dominant big man)
– Playing with Ben Simmons (elite ball handler and playmaker)
– Would be best team in the East for foreseeable future
– Mad sports city
– Playing with multiple elite shooters
– Up and coming coach in Brett Brown
– Room to sign Paul George
– Assets to trade for Kawhi Leonard
– Reputational increase

CONS:
– Can LeBron and Ben Simmons co-exist?
– Joel Embiid healths
– Inexperience in playoffs

LIKLIHOOD: MODERATE TO POSSIBLE

 

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Now, I know we say anything can happen, but this would be something seriously mind blowing if this was going to transpire – LeBron James to the Golden State Warriors. It has been a scenario played around with a little bit as of late, of course not taken very seriously besides Stephen A Smith and Chris Haynes of ESPN, but the scenario of James joining the Bay has been mostly toyed with among social media platforms. In truth, it’s a fantasy at this point, nothing more than a rumor or speculation. James is reportedly set to meet with the Warriors but how much truth is in that is unknown at this stage. Be that as it may, we are still going to look at this option as a potential landing spot (scary, I know).

So, firstly, barring any long term injuries, this team would easily win championships for the foreseeable future. They would be that unfairly talented, that it’s basically a lock. James would team up with what many people consider the 2nd and 3rd best players in the world which means the Warriors would have the three greatest players in the world all on one team destroying the league and all competition that goes with it. Now, if James wants his money they would more than likely have to move both Draymond Green and Klay Thompson to facilitate the acquisition, and their bench would have to be made up of mostly veteran minimum contracts. Another possibility is James takes a veteran minimum himself to keep both Green and Thompson on the roster and create a “Big 5”. This is a seriously scary prospect, and possible if their stars restructure their deals and take less money in order to win. It’s not uncommon for superstars to do this, but it’s highly unlikely James takes less money than he’s owed, and it’s near impossible he signs for a veteran minimum. James would play under an excellent head coach in Steve Kerr, and what looks like a stable and revolutionary front office. The team would be built for long term success with basically all their superstars in the heart of their prime at the same time. With some smart drafting and roster tinkering every season this team would be unstoppable.

As for James, this decision isn’t as attractive as it might seem considering he’d have rings on nearly every finger by the time he’s finished playing. Despite the only knock on him being the undisputed greatest player ever is championships, winning them in Golden State will not help his cause. He would take the easy road and the guaranteed path. The reputational damage would be irreversible, and that itself may disqualify him from the GOAT conversation in many people’s eyes. He would become Kevin Durant 2.0, and that’s something Durant will have to deal with for the rest of his life. He would be similar to Durant, with his championship rings alongside multiple hall-of-famers holding little to no weight in the grand schemes of resumes.

The league and James would benefit much more if the kid from Akron put together a team to take down this dynasty. That would be infinitively better for both his legacy and his quest for the greatest player of all time mantle. James’ numbers would also go down playing with such great players. He might not care all that much as championship parades become a part of the yearly calendar, but we may as well throw that factor in there as well.

In truth this seems like the most unlikely choice out of all the landing spots. It’s nothing short of far-fetched at this point so don’t expect the King to be a part of Dub Nation next season.

PROS:
– Guaranteed championship rings
– Opportunity to play with the 2nd and 3rd best players in the world
– Great head coach in Steve Kerr
– Front office built for long term success

CONS:
– Pay cut
– Reputational damage
– Championship rings wouldn’t hold much weight
– Easy road
– Decrease in numbers

LIKLIHOOD: HIGHLY UNLIKELY

 

BOSTON CELTICS

LeBron James to the Boston Celtics in similar to the Golden State Warriors in the sense that it’s highly unlikely we will see him there. Although it seems unlikely on face value, multiple sources have confirmed James will have a meeting with the Celtics this summer to discuss their proposal. With the Celtics, much like the Philadelphia 76ers, if he lands there, they would rule the East for as long as he’s still playing. No one in the East would be close, and James may in fact make them the most serious threat to dethrone the Warriors next season if he did happen to call TD Garden home.

The good news for the Celtics in their quest for the King is the flexibility and options they have with their roster. They can reshape and restructure their roster accordingly because of the tradeable assets they possess. They also have the best coach and maybe the best system in the entire league. Playing under Brad Stevens, James would play off the ball more as he’s wanted to and be wildly efficient, even more so than he is now somehow. The Celtics are also young, and their younger players have fast tracked their development last season with extended minutes at the expense of the Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward injuries. James would remain in the Eastern Conference, which is only a good thing at this stage of his career, and his minutes and overall load under Stevens would decrease as well, another attractive factor. This is all similar to what he’d have in San Antonio with the Spurs, as the system and excellent coaching would allow him to extend his career.

The only downside to this move is what would happen with Kyrie Irving. How would he feel? Would they move him? Or would he and James work in great harmony again? Irving has been the subject of a lot of talk lately, as he hasn’t show interest at staying with the Celtics long term when asked about it. Instead, he has somewhat avoided a direct answer and said he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it. Given the contract situation and what is at stake, the Celtics may be wise to move him and receive the ultimate value for him. In doing so, they would entice James, or they could entice him with the possibility of wreaking havoc on the league again alongside Irving. Both would be appealing no doubt. They could also move Hayward in an attempt to continue the development of both Jaylen Brown and rising star Jayson Tatum, but this is the sort of flexibility and options we are talking about with the Celtics, and Danny Ainge isn’t scared to make a big decision like we’ve seen in the past.

It’s unlikely James joins the Celtics given his history against them and the fact he just eliminated them from the playoffs in a heroic Game 7, but it isn’t impossible. His relationship with Irving will likely play a part, but from a basketball standpoint it makes a lot of sense for him at this stage of his career with the ability to continue to compete for championships.

PROS:
– Playing under Brad Stevens (best coach in the NBA)
– Staying in the Eastern Conference
– Team built for sustained excellence
– Great system
– Ability to play off the ball
– Less minutes
– Consistent help
– Young, talented rising stars
– Would become favorite in the East for foreseeable future

CONS:
– Numbers may go down
– Ability to co-exist with Kyrie Irving again with both players remaining happy

LIKELIHOOD: MODERATE TO POSSIBLE

 

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

LeBron James is reportedly set to meet with the Cleveland Cavaliers today to inform him of his decision moving forward. It’s unlikely the general public will become aware of his decision straight away, but it will become evident with how the Cavs react, especially on June 21st during the NBA Draft. The feel good story for James and the league is he remains in Cleveland, and finishes his career there, but with how the situation is now and the postseason we’ve just witnessed, it’s hard to see him in a Cavs uniform next season.

As it stands, he has an inconsistent supporting cast, an incompetent head coach, an unproven general manager and a dysfunctional and egotistic owner. These are all ingredients to drive away any superstar, and James wouldn’t be there if he wasn’t already a hometown hero and biggest thing to ever come out of Cleveland. For James to remain with the Cavs a whole lot would need to happen. It’s possible but it’s going to require a colossal amount of work.

Firstly, they would need to reconstruct the entire roster from head to toe. This means unloading the unfavourable contracts of Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, George Hill and Jordan Clarkson. It’s going to be tough to move them all, but shedding some money to open up other things is vital. Given the way they struggled in the postseason, their value in the market may be low as well, so getting something valuable in return is also unlikely. Keeping James would also likely involve putting Kevin Love up for trade. The market for Love may not be great either, but they could find a home for him. They may need to package Love with their 8th overall pick in the draft to bring a superstar to Cleveland, but they’d need James’ full commitment to start facilitating that.

One thing is for sure, James will absolutely not stay there if the roster stays the way it is. It will likely take one or maybe two superstars and a newly drafted young stud to keep the King in The Land, and whether this is possible is up to both James and the GM to decide. If James was to re-sign in Cleveland, he would be the ultimate hometown legend. He would be eligible for the most money anyone can offer him, he would stick it out after a tough Finals loss and try and find a way to overcome the Warriors’ dynasty and other dynasties forming around him in the Eastern Conference. He would remain the absolute man and his numbers would remain at an all-time high as well as staying in a city his family is comfortable in. This is all well and good, but wouldn’t mean much if he doesn’t continue to win championships. The Cavs would have to put together a talented squad if they have any hope of keeping his services. With each passing day it looks more likely his time in Cleveland could be up, but conjuring up something to keep him is definitely not out of the question.

PROS:
– Stays with hometown
– Is eligible for most money out of all landing spots
– Could retire in a Cavs uniform
– Possible transition into owning the team
– Stick it out after tough loss to overcome a dynasty
– Huge numbers
– Clear cut main man
– Family security, familiarity and comfort

CONS:
– Incompetent head coach
– Unproven GM
– Unstable owner
– Roster needs entire reconstruct
– May have to package pick to attract talent
– Horrible contracts on roster
– Need to bring in another star or two just to remain competitive.

LIKELIHOOD: UNLIKELY TO HOPEFUL

 

HOUSTON ROCKETS

As of right now, the Houston Rockets is the home run play for LeBron James if he wants to realistically win championships straight away. The thing people have to understand is James wouldn’t just be added to the Rockets team as it’s currently constructed, because it’s logistically impossible.

The Rockets first have to decide if they want to give Clint Capella a max contract that he’ll demand, as well as keep Chris Paul around and pay him handsomely as well. In doing so would leave no room for James, but the Rockets would reshape their roster to accommodate the King. It’s likely their bench depth and plethora of shooters would be affected and it would require the offload of Ryan Anderson’s terrible contract.

If James joined the Rockets, he would have an immediate shot at dethroning the Warriors alongside James Harden. LeBron would also thrive in a system full of shooters and playing in transition the Rockets have become famous for. He would also excel in a system that allows a large number of isolation plays, letting Harden, James and Paul go to work on whoever they wanted to humiliate.

Another attractive factor would be teaming up with long-time friend CP3, who he’s always expressed the desire to play alongside one another. Joining H-Town wouldn’t hurt James’ reputation all that much either, as he would be joining a team that just lost to the Warriors in 7 Games and they would look to dethrone the dynasty, a narrative that NBA fans would gravitate to. His quest to defeat the Warriors on the biggest stage makes this move attractive and could help James’ legacy. He would also play under maybe the greatest offensive minded coach ever in Mike D’Antoni in a fluent system.

There is some downfalls to this move, however. The ball may be taken out of James’ hands more so than he’s accustomed to, the money logistics and cap room is also a tricky one to work around. He would enter the Western Conference slugfest and may not be the clear cut best team in the conference, and he may still find his load incredibly high with the depleted depth they may be forced to deal with. Another huge thing to consider is Paul’s health, as he’s continually broken down in the postseason more than once. Can he be relied on to stay healthy when they need him the most? I’m sure it’s something James will consider as well. Like we’ve said, a move to Houston would be a home run play focused more on immediate success rather than long term. It’s an interesting landing spot and could pay dividends straight away if all the pieces fall the right way.

PROS:
– Legitimate chance to dethrone Warriors
– Will thrive in a system full of shooters
– Team up with good friend Chris Paul
– Playing with two elite ball handlers/playmakers in Chris Paul and James Harden
– Play under a great offensive mind in Mike D’Antoni
– Wouldn’t hurt his reputation
– Joining a team to defeat a dynasty

CONS:
– Chris Paul’s long term health
– Logistical money side of things
– Roster must be reshaped in order to accommodate him
– Western Conference slugfest
– Depth may be an issue
– Ball out of his hands a lot of the time

LIKLIHOOD: MODERATE TO POSSIBLE

 

SIDE NOTE

There is a huge side note that is very important with LeBron James’ decision this summer and that is the plans of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. In all truth, what they decide could directly affect where James ends up next season. If the 76ers, Lakers, Spurs, Rockets, Cavaliers or Celtics happen to land one or both of those men somehow, you could almost guarantee that destination will become the most attractive landing spot for him. I think at this stage of his career James understands in order to win he needs to play alongside a great two way wing player. With the load he had this season he understands he needs consistent help on both sides of the floor, and even though Irving didn’t give that to him defensively, he definitely significantly helped with the offensive side of things.

In my opinion, at this stage, I think the best options for James would be to join the Spurs, Celtics or 76ers. That way he would get the help he deserves, compete for championships for the foreseeable future and extend his career with less wear and tear on his body. In saying all that if the Cavaliers could somehow muster up a way to keep James by adding one or both of those two men or guaranteed help for him I think he should/could stay as well. One thing is for sure, his decision is about to change the entire landscape of the league.

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