- LeBron James is closer to deciding where he’ll play next season after narrowing down his choices to four teams.
- Will LeBron jilt Cleveland a second time and take his talents elsewhere?
- Will he join forces with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and continue to rule the East?
LeBron James could be taking his talents to the City of Brotherly Love. The four-time MVP has reportedly narrowed down his list of possible destinations for the 2018-19 season, and they include Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Houston, and Cleveland. James has yet to publicly comment on his preferred landing spot, but we have a hunch we know where he’ll end up and have created odds for each franchise.
|Los Angeles Lakers||7/3|
Cleveland may not be the sexy option, but it is the safe one. LeBron has a solid working relationship with head coach Tyronn Lue and he knows by now that general manager Koby Altman and team owner Dan Gilbert will move heaven and earth to field the best team possible.
The Cavs also wisely held onto their first round pick from the Nets and could add a top-five talent like DeAndre Ayton or Mo Bamba in this summer’s draft. That may be all it takes to give LeBron an unobstructed path to the NBA Finals for the foreseeable future.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Cavs will have only themselves to blame if LeBron joins the Lakers in the offseason. Cleveland cleared the space for James to go to L.A. when they traded Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. at the deadline. The Lakers now have enough cap space to sign two max free agents this summer, and could pair LeBron with fellow All-Stars Paul George or DeMarcus Cousins.
The Lakers already have an intriguing young core loaded with four future stars all under the age of 24.
Regardless of whom they target and when, the Lakers already have an intriguing young core loaded with four future stars all under the age of 24. They’ll be ready to do the heavy lifting in another year or two just as LeBron starts to slow down.
The Rockets, as currently constructed, give James his best shot of toppling the Warriors. Unfortunately Houston would have to renounce or trade many of its most valuable contributors in order to accommodate James and his enormous salary. Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson would almost certainly be shown the door, and the Rockets would have to consider bidding adieu to rising star Clint Caplea as well. That would leave the cupboard a little bare in the loaded West and may make LeBron think twice about heading to H-Town.
It’s fun to imagine LeBron, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid romping through the East for the next five years, but how well would all three players actually mesh? Embiid, for all his talent, has yet to play a whole season and has only recently begun appearing in back-to-backs. Simmons, meanwhile, needs the ball in his hands and lacks the ability to knock down shots consistently when left unguarded. LeBron is at his best when he’s surrounded by a bevy of spot-up shooters and it appears for now that Philly lacks that kind of make up.
Want to see what sportsbooks thought about LeBron’s prospects a month ago? Check out our expert analysis from February.