Lebron James is one of the greatest basketball players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. In his 15th season in the NBA, Lebron has put up some of his best numbers throughout his career. The world has never seen a player at the age of 33 play the way King James has played. James is leading the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs currently in hopes of reaching his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance. But after the season, another summer of free agency will hit, and Lebron is the biggest name available. He’s narrowed his list down to four teams, but where is he going?
Lebron was born and raised in Akron, Ohio only 40 miles from Cleveland. This gives the Cavs a “hometown feel” to Lebron, and is the reason they’re still left on his free agency list. James also played his first five seasons as a member of the Cavs and led them to an NBA Finals appearance in 2007 with one of the worst teams to ever reach the finals. Cleveland has struggled this season, grabbing the fourth seed in the playoffs and already being down 1-0 to the underdog Indiana Pacers.
At the trade deadline, Cleveland made plenty of major roster moves in hopes to secure Lebron for another couple of years. I think that the shooters around Lebron James like Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Kyle Korver and George Hill really complement the game of Lebron. I think the Cavs chances of re-signing the King will depend on their performance in the playoffs. If the Cavs can show that they can make deep runs in the playoffs with the young talent they have, and keep Lebron on the roster, the future is bright in Cleveland.
Philadelphia has taken the NBA by storm this season being led by the future Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and second-year big man Joel Embiid. Philly has been on a roll ending the season with a 17 game winning streak and secured the third seed in playoff competition. Their pitch to land Lebron started out as just another comedic Instagram post from Embiid claiming Lebron should #JoinTheProcess and was widely looked at as unrealistic. But throughout the season, James has shown plenty of love to Ben Simmons who has been compared to the King throughout his college years at LSU and his rookie year in the NBA.
Simmons and Embiid can both elevate James’ game but the key to a championship Lebron James team is shooting ability, especially from the three-point line. Philly can fill that void with shooters like Dario Saric, Marco Belinelli, and J.J. Reddick if he resigns with the team in the offseason. The 76ers have been the biggest surprise in the league this year with plenty of potential and youth on the roster, adding the greatest player on the planet who can also bring a veteran presence to the locker room could mean big things for “The Process” in Philadelphia.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers were the original team Lebron was interested in after this current season. The big market of LA with the business mind of Lebron James would be a match made in heaven. James is at the point of his career where he doesn’t have much left to prove, and the business implications of relocating to LA would improve James’ brand tenfold. The main problem with James going to the Lakers would be that the team wouldn’t be one of the top teams in the conference, let alone the league.
The Lakers have been on the decline recently, even with the rookie Lonzo Ball improving his play after the all-star break and Kyle Kuzma taking control of the team. James has publicly admitted he’s chasing the “ghost” of Michael Jordan and is attempting to surpass him as the greatest of all time, and his only disadvantage in that argument is championships. Jordan has six, Lebron even though he has more finals appearances, only has 3. The chances of Lebron taking the Lakers to an NBA championship with the current roster LA has is very small. But if the Lakers can somehow sign Paul George, who has shown interest in LA in free agency as well, that would make the Lakers contenders even in the tough Western Conference.
Houston is the team that peaks my interest the most regarding Lebron’s four-team list. Houston has surprised many this season with the dominance they’ve shown on the floor. This past offseason, Houston made a big move trading for point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul is a ball dominant player meaning his game is the best when the ball is in his hands, the only problem is that the Rockets already have that kind of talent with James Harden.
Harden is one of the top scorers in the league today and is most likely going to be awarded the NBA MVP. Lebron joining this team would be a scary sight for the rest of the NBA, but specifically the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets already have the one seed in the Western Conference, and adding Lebron to that team would be an instant title contender if all three of their superstars can share and move the ball. I think going to Houston would be Lebron’s best chance at winning a title and making the next step chasing Michael Jordan. This summer is sure going to be an interesting one in NBA free agency.
All eyes will be on the King and his crew and each and every move of theirs will be calculated and closely observed. Each of Lebron’s free agent decisions has shifted the landscape of the NBA, and this one surely won’t disappoint.