It is the end of the Playoffs, and the Warriors have won. Now the question in the minds of most fans is, where will LeBron James go?
James could just stay with the Cavaliers, but most bets are that he will probably go. Despite his best efforts to put his team on his back, in the end, it was not enough to bring them to victory. In fact, it barely pushed them against the Indiana Pacers, then they struggled against an already battered Boston Celtics team, and was unceremoniously swept by the star-studded Warriors team.
After 15 seasons, at 33 years old, James has shown that he has still a lot left in his tank. The only question now is whether he will leave or go somewhere else with this energy.
Despite having so many teams to choose from, there are actually only a few realistic options that make sense for The King if he leaves Cleveland. Below are the said options:
The Rockets are a possibility for James, but then they numbers are not so clear. At the moment, LeBron commands a whopping $35 million per year, Houston still needs to re-sign Chris Paul, and they would need to offer a max contract to Clint Capela who is a restricted free agent. So that would be a problem.
James could also come up with a sign-and-trade agreement with Houston, but the last time the Rockets tried to trade Ryan Anderson for Carmelo Anthony, it did not go so well. Obviously, the Cavs would not take him as well in exchange for the best player in the world.
Golden State Warriors
As what Kevin Durant did, James could join the Warriors. If you can’t beat them, join them!
If LeBron wanted to follow in KD’s footsteps, it most likely won’t happen. At the moment, the Warriors have $129 million in salary for the next season alone, and if they sign KD for a max contract extension, it will increase. In that case, LeBron would need to take a pay cut, AND the Warriors need to boot Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. That seems highly improbable.
Los Angeles Lakers
According to reports, LeBron has two homes out in SoCal. But if you are currently one of the best players in the planet, you probably will not choose to go with the Clippers.
Among all the teams entering the 2018 free agency period, the Lakers are the ones with the most space, and the capacity to add two max contract players. They could add Paul George to their roster, but James plus George is not enough power to handle the Warriors or other Western Conference big teams. Maybe if they throw in Kawhi Leonard, then they have the makings of a possible Big 3.
LeBron James and Ben Simmons is a pairing dream come true for most fans. Adding Joel Embiid would make the 76ers a force to be reckoned with.
However, it could be that James’ end-all, be-all on-court presence might impact the growth and development of Ben Simmons. Once James steps in, it could be that the ball would be taken out of the possible Rookie of the Year’s hands.
San Antonio Spurs
One of the things LeBron has not done is play with a legendary head coach. Presenting Gregg Popovich, the most legendary head coach of the NBA. This year, the Spurs were only an injury away from competing with the Warriors. A healthy Kawhi plus a LeBron James creates a strong Spurs team that can take on any of the Western Conference teams.
However, San Antonio is not Los Angeles, and life is not as fast as what LeBron might be used to. But sometimes you just need to do something you have not thought about doing in order to accomplish something that you have never accomplished. If James considers to go West and still win a championship, then the San Antonio Spurs is his option.
After checking LeBron’s possible options, there is not much choice that makes sense to him. He could stay in Cleveland, after all, “Home is where the heart is.” But at the moment, the Cavs cannot improve during free agency, and the only possibility is a trade during this year’s draft.