With the NBA Finals done, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will turn his attention to the big decision looming this summer. He’ll have to decide if it’s worth it for him to stay put with his current team, or opt out and sign with a new squad as a free agent. There have been three teams mentioned quite a bit as the potential landing spots for “King James,” but now it’s being reported that he will meet with a list of seven teams total.
LeBron’s list of teams
For a long while, fans and analysts were debating on whether or not LeBron James would leave Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, or the Houston Rockets.
All three of these teams have unique selling points and all three have been heavily mentioned in ongoing reports. However, those teams, along with the Cleveland Cavs, are just four of the teams that James will reportedly meet with.
.@KingJames characterizes how the 2018 NBA Playoffs were for him personally, and the team as a whole.#AllForOne pic.twitter.com/PL4IxCdEaa
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) June 9, 2018
According to The Spun, sports journalist Stephen A. Smith spoke about the seven teams that he believes James is going to consider this summer. They include the aforementioned teams. James will obviously have a serious talk with his current team about how they plan to compete going forward. Magic Johnson and the Lakers will be calling, as well as the Philadelphia 76ers, and possibly, the Houston Rockets.
In addition, Smith said LeBron will probably have conversations with the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and yes, even the reigning champions. Smith put the Golden State Warriors back in the conversation again, as previous reports have suggested.
Teams’ chances of signing LeBron
In his post-game interview after losing the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, LeBron James indicated that the decision this summer will be easier than the one he made back in 2010. That’s when he decided to take his talent to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. He’s since returned to the Cavs where he won a title, but now the next stage of his career looms.
LeBron won two of his three championships with the Heat, who also had star players Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, as well as NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen at one point. Smith felt the Heat probably have the least likely chance of getting LeBron to return to Miami. Still, it was mentioned that Pat Riley may be able to convince LeBron to rejoin the club with his good friend Dwyane Wade.
.@DwyaneWade thinks LeBron’s offseason decision will be about more than just basketball. pic.twitter.com/sqTQjiGxLx
— ESPN (@espn) June 11, 2018
In terms of the Vegas odds-on-favorite to land LeBron, that position goes to the Los Angeles Lakers. A recent USA Today report said that Magic Johnson and L.A. are +200 on the moneyline to sign the free agent this summer. It would link LeBron up with the business mogul and Lakers president of operations. It would also give the Lakers a more talented roster. There have been additional roster rumors that indicate that Paul George and LeBron may discuss signing with the Lakers this summer. Lonzo Ball probably wouldn’t mind passing them the rock one bit.
Just below the Lakers as odds-on-favorites to sign LeBron are the Houston Rockets. They’d need to clear up some room and that could hurt the roster’s overall talent. However, the trio of Chris Paul, James Harden, and LeBron James playing for the Western Conference team that nearly took out the champs ahead of the Finals is intriguing.
Wow. LeBron James is favored to go to the Houston Rockets this
Teaming up with James Harden and Chris Paul would be an incredible move for LeBron and would make them the favorite to win the NBA Title over the Warriors pic.twitter.com/iDPaQwjC6u
— William DuPont (@WilliamDuPontJ5) June 5, 2018
The Philadelphia 76ers have +350 odds to bring the King to the City of Brotherly Love. Joel Embiid has already been campaigning on Twitter and it’s a well-known fact that James has served as a mentor to young star Ben Simmons. The two players also share the same sports agent (Rich Paul) which could be extra helpful when it comes to the negotiations.
Of the remaining teams, there are no strong contenders — a few of which could impact LeBron’s legacy in a negative way. The obvious one that jumps out is the Golden State Warriors, as he’d basically just make the league unnecessary. LeBron would make a move similar to what Kevin Durant did several seasons ago but it could be viewed as even worse. How would any other teams possibly compete with the greatest players assembled like the Avengers in Oakland?
The San Antonio Spurs are not listed among the seven teams that Stephen A. Smith pointed out. However, his colleague Max Kellerman believes they make a great choice for LeBron. They have +1200 odds in Vegas which ranks them ahead of the Warriors, Clippers, and Heat.
The Celtics are also a strange one, as the entire reason Kyrie Irving left to join Boston was to become a star for a team of his own. Clearly, LeBron could go there to thwart that plan somehow, but again, that could potentially hurt how he is talked about.
July 1 will arrive quickly — the official date that LeBron’s free agency decision will be well underway.