Now that the NBA Finals are over, the NBA free agency period is here. To some, it is the most exciting part of the season. And that excitement is even more palpable now that LeBron James has the opportunity to opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. So where will James end up when next season tips off? And which team will give him the best chance to add to his championship count?
Los Angeles Lakers
It seems clear at this point that LeBron James will be leaving the Cavaliers. Even Cavs coach Tyronn Lue seems resigned to that fact. But are the Los Angeles Lakers the answer as to where James will end up next season? Given the team's ample resources, it is entirely possible. But there are definitely some obstacles to overcome if James is going to play for the purple and gold.
If James is going to put on the Lakers' NBA city jersey next year, the Lakers will have to assure him that they will bring in another talented player to join him. This is because the Lakers currently are full of young players but don't have a star that would bring James any closer to a title than the Cavaliers would. But with the Lakers having tons of salary cap space, they may be able to land another star like Paul George while they haul in the player who had 34 points per game in last year's NBA Finals.
Los Angeles also needs to get their Lavar Ball situation under control. Ball is convinced that LeBron is going to be a Laker, but James may not like all of the instability that Ball brings to the table. And though the Lakers faithful would sing his praises better than those responsible for the LeBron James Cisqo parody, that wouldn't mean much if the team wasn't any better than his hometown Cavaliers.
The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the best young teams in the league. They had a breakout season last year thanks to the inspired play of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. As a result, the Sixers are at +400 odds to win the NBA Finals as of June 14, 2018 at Betway. And, one would imagine that adding LeBron James would improve those odds in a big way.
Thanks to the distribution abilities of Simmons, LeBron wouldn't have to handle the ball nearly as much as he did in Cleveland. And while Ben Simmons has recently had some relationship drama with Kendall Jenner, he keeps things completely harmonious for his teammates on the court. Imagining him passing to a cutting LeBron James is tantalizing, and watching that duo with Embiid alongside them would be amazing as well.
Of course, the Sixers' instability with their general manager position could be a concern for the moment after the Bryan Colangelo Twitter scandal. Now that he is no longer with the team, the possibility for LeBron to join up with Philly could be just what the doctor ordered to complete the process.
LeBron James was accused of quitting on the Cavaliers during the NBA Finals when the Warriors won all four games of that series. To combat that narrative, James would be well served to join the Rockets. Teaming up with Chris Paul would make sure that he never took a play-off again. This is thanks to Paul's natural leadership ability that always makes him someone that players want on their team.
Also, the addition of James Harden to LeBron's list of teammates would be a huge bonus for James. Harden is another player who can play on the ball, and lighten James' offensive burden. That will give him more energy to be a two-way player, something he struggled with at times during the 2017-2018 season.
The only concern with joining the Rockets would be how bad a fit James is with the rest of the team's offense. Houston shoots more threes than anyone in the league, even when they are missing like they did when they missed 27 straight threes in the seventh game of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors. But if anyone can figure out how to make it work, it is LeBron James.