LeBron James is more than guaranteed to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers after the horrible season they have had this year even if they make the finals.
James did well, but his team was mediocre at best during the regular season.
While they are still in the playoffs currently, only one member of his team made a significant impact and helped Lebron not have to carry the entire team.
That teammate would be, surprisingly, Tristan Thompson with 15 points and 10 rebounds in their last game with Indiana.
Kevin Love came on big in the Toronto series, but still that was really the only other Cavalier that made a major impact in the series.
Aside from the stats, the Cavaliers lack a championship roster. J.R. Smith can be clutch when he is hot, but he is getting up there in age and hasn’t been producing like he has before for Cleveland.
Not to mention Thompson has had his share of struggles, hence the surprising double-double he had recently.
Coach Tyron Lue and James have had their altercations as well. When this happened with David Blatt, he was fired. Lue has more respect as he has brought the Cavaliers their lone championship. However, with the arguments Lue and James have engaged in, it begins to cause a chemistry issue within the roster as well as with the coaching staff.
These are strong indications that James feels his days with the Cavaliers are numbered. There are also strong speculations that he is looking at the Lakers, 76ers and the Rockets.
James and LA have been connected for quite some time now.
When he was last exploring free agency, the Lakers were projected by a lot of people to land him and Paul George.
However, George was traded by Indiana to Oklahoma City and James re-signed with the Cavs.
LA has a strong chance this time around because George wants to be apart of a team with James. Not to mention George has talked about playing in LA before and it is a franchise he has been interested in for some time now.
As for James, he is a fan of Magic Johnson and what he is doing in LA.
Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma have more then likely sparked his interest if he is looking at LA especially, being young talent in need of a veteran leader.
Now if LA doesn’t happen, there is a strong case for Philadelphia. They are one of the fastest growing teams in the NBA currently and have a city that is dying to win another championship.
With Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, James would fit into their system perfectly and their NBA Finals chances would increase even more than they already are currently.
Plus, James is a huge fan of 76ers former all-star Allen Iverson, which could be a huge draw to the organization for James.
There are also rumors of the 76ers going after Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard if he becomes a free agent.
Imagine that starting lineup, with three All-Stars and one (more than likely) rookie of the year.
If Philadelphia doesn’t win a championship with that lineup, then they have the hall of fame Toronto Raptors choking badge unlocked.
Now, for the Rockets, anyone fan with a brain would give this destination a big fat NO.
The amount of stardom that is already in Houston would make them the best team not only in the west, but the entire league. Plus, they would have to make some serious cap space, because Chris Paul’s contract is only one year, but if they renew his contract there isn’t going to be much money left for James, unless they let another star go for him.
This destination is possible, but highly unlikely simply due to the fact that Houston already has an all-star lineup and does not need James to build upon their team.
If this were to happen, as stated before, Houston would have to let go of James Harden, Paul or another bench player to make room for James, which is unlikely due to the firepower and veteran presence the team already possesses.
This team would look like the Monstars’ team from Space Jam, while the rest of the league would be looking like a starting lineup of every single scrawny dude you can imagine who can’t dribble. Ok…maybe not that bad, but the Rockets would be a huge powerhouse and that would make it almost impossible for a team to beat them coming out of the West.
It would be a perfect example of another ’15-16 Golden State Warriors team full of shooters, defense and a great coach. Yet, that might be just the reason James picks Houston, especially if he wants to start chasing rings at the end of his career.
James will go wherever he pleases, but don’t count on that to be staying in Cleveland. There are a lot of outlets predicting he will stay if they win another championship, that is a fair point.
However, Cleveland is a shipwreck waiting to happen. As much as they want to hold on to James, he isn’t going to be on the ship when it hits the iceberg. He will jump to a much more stable ship, such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles or Houston.
He claims he is loyal to his city, but in my opinon that is a white lie to please the fans.
He left for Miami to chase more championships and left Cleveland in the dust.
What is stopping him now when he is even better, more sought after and more capable than before?
James loves his city, but he loves being a leader of a good team and championship team too much to stay with a team when their chances are shot at another title.
Written by: Andrew Bowen
Edited by: Sam Forman