by Ras Mahddy
Now that the clock has expired on the 2018 NBA Draft, it's time to really get speculating. The LeBron James sweepstakes is now headed into full swing with the L. A. Lakers rumored to currently be the favorites to sign James this offseason.
This will be the last summer for LeBron, at age 33, to be the Grand Prize, the Undisputed and sought after King. It'll be one of his last attempts of adding anymore rings to his collection, and staking final claim to his goal of being the G.O.A.T.
During the draft after the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Collin Sexton with the eighth overall pick, Sexton tried to convince LeBron James to stay in Cleveland. In an interview with ESPN’s Maria Taylor after his name was called, Sexton made his plea to James. “LeBron, let’s do it, let’s do it,” Sexton said. “I see you need a few pieces. That one extra piece this past season. Let’s do it. Let’s go back to the Finals.” Will it have an effect on Lebron’s decision? Judging by history the answer is no based on the Shabazz Napier situation when he convinced them to draft the Connecticut point guard right before he parted Miami for his return to Cleveland.
Before you read these statistics below understand these are based on pure speculation. The teams with the best odds to land the king this off season in my opinion begin in Cleveland with all the factors of why he came back to the city to begin with, the flashiness of Los Angeles could very well draw him out their to the west coast, and Houston could figure out a way to throw enough money at him to create a Houston dream team. For some reason I’m going to go out on a limb a say he may shock the entire nation and choose the city of brotherly love and team up with one of his personal friends Ben Simmons, and the big man Joel Embid. Here’s the break down in detail:
1. Houston Rockets (35 percent likelihood): Forming a triumvirate with James Harden and close friend Chris Paul would give James and Houston the firepower to challenge Golden State. Paul also is a pending free agent but would re-up in a heartbeat to finally play alongside his buddy. Who knows, LeBron might even fill up the old Banana Boat by bringing over his friend D-Wade from Miami. The one negative: LeBron would be leaving the relative comfort of the Eastern Conference and wandering into the Warriors' lair. No more free rides to the Finals.
2. Philadelphia 76ers (30 percent): James would form a nucleus with rising superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons that would instantly elevate Philly to an East power above Boston. And Simmons, like Paul in Houston, would be the playmaker who would free LeBron to play off the ball more, which he wishes to do in his career's winter. A negative: This current Twitter embarrassment involving Sixers president Bryan Colangelo.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (20 percent): Surely there is a sentimental factor that makes James not averse to staying with his hometown, but not without an indication the Cavs would add enough pieces to stave off Boston and Philly in the East and close the gap with the West powers.
4. Los Angeles Lakers (10 percent): LeBron has a home and a Hollywood production company, so the locale would be appealing. But are Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball enough top-grade help to help LeBron think championship in the short-term?
5. The field (5 percent): Does LeBron have in him the dramatic flair to shock everybody? Fans of the Spurs, Clippers, Knicks, Heat and [your team goes here] will be waiting to find out.
Los Angeles Lakers 4/13
Cleveland Cavaliers 13/4
Houston Rockets 15/2
Philadelphia 76ers 10/1
Boston Celtics 18/1
San Antonio Spurs 20/1
Los Angeles Clippers 25/1
New York Knicks 30/1
Miami Heat 40/1