by Mack Williams
12 June 2018
So the Golden State Warriors win their third championship in four years, the Washington Capitals and their superstar Alex Ovechkin win their first Stanley Cup, and Donald Trump was Shaqtin’ a Fool at the G7, but all the media seems to want to discuss is where LeBron James will be playing come October.
Okay, I’m in. Here are The SEVEN most likely destinations for LeBron in 2018-19…but first here are a couple of teams he won’t be going to:
Golden State Warriors
If you think Kevin Durant got – and still gets – some grief for joining the 73-win Warriors, what do you think LeBron world get if he joined the team that has just swept them and beaten them three of the last four years? He would immediately become a bigger heel than the WWE ever created…and his legacy would be forever tarnished, in that this is not akin to a Trevor Ariza saying he would consider going to G. State. This is someone in the conversation about the greatest ever – as well as someone who appeared at the post-series press conference wearing a cast on his hand, almost implying that the outcome could have been different had he not punched the whiteboard in the locker room after game one. That will never happen.
As for Boston, they were thisclose to knocking off Cleveland this year with arguably their two best players in street clothes. They need not break up their young core over 2-3 years of mid-30’s LeBron.
In the also-ran category are Utah, Milwaukee, Toronto and Portland – all young teams with enough talent such that the addition of LeBron could vault them into serious contention. But would he do these smaller markets?
And now, the seven:
7. (tie) Miami Heat & Los Angeles Clippers
Miami gets some consideration due to history and Dwyane Wade; Clippers due to having a great coach in Doc Rivers, and being in the town where he owns a home or two and his kids are enrolled in school for the fall, at least according to some.
Plus, with the Clippers, it’s L.A., but he could operate out of the shadows of Magic and Kobe.
6. New York Knicks
Don’t think for a minute LeBron wouldn’t LOVE being the star on Broadway, being coached by David Fizdale, playing in the Mecca of basketball – Madison Square Garden – and ultimately having his number retired there. And with Porzingis and a couple of others, they could be among the contenders in the east.
5. Houston Rockets
Not enough balls on the court to make that work with James Harden and CP3. (Of course, having LeBron there would be the best thing ever for Harden if it would work, given that Harden is totally spent come fourth quarters.)
4. Philadelphia 76ers
If ultimately getting LeBron was part of “trusting the process,” former general manager Sam Hinkie is a genius. Only problem is if they have to give up some of their young talent to get LeBron in…see Boston above. Plus Ben Simmons basically plays the same position as LeBron…and both need the ball to maximize their effectiveness; Simmons more so because he can’t shoot as of yet.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Glamour city, glamour franchise, Jack and the stars are at the game, and they have salary cap space to bring in another star like Paul George. And that business about his kids…
1A. Cleveland Cavaliers
He said family is a consideration. Despite having a rough road to a championship there, it’s home.
1. San Antonio Spurs
When last we saw the Spurs at full strength, in the first game of last year’s western conference finals, Kawhi Leonard was being called (by some) “the best two-way player in the game,” and pro sports’ best organization with the best coach was running Golden State out of their own gym. Then Zaza Pachulia came down under Leonard, the Warriors came back to win, and Kawhi played but 9 games this drama-filled season.
Drama aside (and that may have been blown out of proportion, anyway), if you add LeBron to this team, you have a definite championship contender, or to put it differently, a team that can match up with the Warriors. And it’s a squad LeBron can grow old with, as in Kawhi he would have a superstar teammate to slide behind into the second spot as time progresses.
So there you have it!