NBA Free Agency 2018: LeBron James Sweepstakes
The impending LeBron James free agency has loomed over the NBA all year and the very minute game 4 of the finals ended, it arrived. The summer of LeBron is in full force and nobody seems to be certain where King James will decide to place his throne. There are five teams the I feel have a legitimate shot at landing LeBron and three others who I feel would also be worthy choices. In an effort to give multiple perspectives I have also included a list of the seven teams LeBron plans to meet with this summer as stated by Stephan A. Smith on his show First Take.
Stephan A. Smith's List
Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakes
San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors
Honorable Mentions: Portland, Boston, Golden State
Honorable Mention: Miami
As you can see, similar lists. Some may wonder Well if nobody seems to know where he’s going and if everyone wants him, how can you narrow the list down to 7 or 8 teams? Two major factors that narrow the possible suitors are cap space and ability to acquire additional talent. It is important to remember LeBron's main goal this summer is to create a team that can beat the Warriors. I will touch on how summer will have to look for these "honorable mention" teams to convince the King to take his talents to their city.
Boston would be a great fit. Boston’s young core now has an eastern conference championship series under their belts, coupled with the veterans Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford. Boston wouldn’t need to necessarily ship off Kyrie Irving, considering Al Horford and Gordon Hayward each get paid 8 and 11 million more respectively. I’m sure these are all reasons the Celtics appear on Stephan A’s list, but now for the reasons they only make honorable mention on my list.
I cannot see LeBron going to reunite with Kyrie in Boston, especially after Irving forced a trade out of Cleveland. This supporting cast would be a definite upgrade from the Cavs 2017-2018 roster. LeBron joining this team sends them to another Finals, not a doubt in my mind. Unfortunately, they will have to lose some pieces to make this happen. The pieces would most likely need to include either Hayward, Horford or Irving plus Marcus Morris(over $5mil on the books for next season). LeBron performed admirably in the 2018 Finals, but matching up 2nd and 3rd-year players against the veterans of the Warriors? I would have to take Golden State. I can’t see LeBron making the sacrifices for such a small upgrade. I know if your Boston you have to go for the best player in the world, but they would need to pick apart a roster that looks poised for a great future.
Miami will get a meeting out of a professional courtesy, as explain by Smith when he provided the list. Miami provides neither the talent or available cap space to keep the King happy. Not even the strong friendship between James and Wade nor the un-paralleled savvy of Pat Riley would be able to bring King James back to South Beach.
Portland could be an interesting fit. Portland is absent from Stephan A’s list, but got honorable mention on mine. Hard to think that LeBron, teamed up with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, wouldn’t be able to give Golden State a run for the title, at least better than a 4-0 sweep. They have athletic forwards in Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, and Al-Farouq Aminu who can stretch the floor when called upon, this could play into a “small ball” lineup to counter the warriors.
Golden State has been at the center of the article as LeBron’s future opponent, but rumors have swirled all summer and blown the Warriors into the hat King James will pick from. This can never happen, that’s why I left them off my list. The Warriors would have 3 out of the top 5 players in the NBA. First, I can’t imagine LeBron making this move, knowing what would follow. Second, I can’t imagine Golden State making this move either. To bring in LeBron Golden State would need to dump contracts left and right, most likely either Klay Thompson or Draymond Green, probably both. Golden State will likely have a different look next year, but they do not need LeBron James.
Where will LeBron play 2018-2019
These are the honorable mention candidates for the LeBron James sweepstakes. I will be uploading articles with more in-depth analysis of the summer each of the 5 remaining teams (CLE, LAL, PHI, HOU, SAS) will need to land LeBron. Follow me here on Hub Pages or follow my social media. The best way to stay updated on my posts because I always post the articles as they are published.