As LeBron James‘ tw0-time championship winning Miami Heat compete in a fourth-straight NBA Finals and the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to draft in the lottery, news emerged that the Lakers were reportedly holding off on their coaching search as they eye the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency.
They aren’t the only team that will be interested in LeBron this offseason. Let’s take a step back and assess some of his options.
Aside: The move to delay the head coach appointment because they possibly have a shot with LeBron is like me not choosing to go on a date with a girl, as I have this crush on Katy Perry. Why don’t I go and find a girlfriend (head coach) now? No way, I’m waiting for Katy Perry to come into my arms.
It just isn’t going to happen, Laker Nation.
The allure of 16 championships just doesn’t seem to be what it used to. While Kobe Bryant is there, there is no room for another first option. Dwight Howard found out the hard way. In what world would LeBron — and probably Melo for that matter — want to go to the Lakers and play with a guy that they are better than, who will act and perform as if he is better than them?
Kobe Bryant is an all-time top 50 player and a great champion, but there’s just no way LeBron James is leaving the well-run, easy life in South Beach for the Lakers.
The Chicago Bulls could be in the mix for LeBron. He was a fan growing up and Chicago is a huge market and has a team that will compete for a championship with or without him next year. There are a couple of questions that could throw that into doubt. Firstly, they will need to either amnesty or move Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. And secondly, with the hostility that Chi-town has shown him in the Eastern Conference and the possibility of LeBron to the Bulls looks unlikely.
Ever since he left, the talk of LeBron returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers has been rife. They have had three No. 1 overall picks in the last four years and should have enough talent to surround James with a title contending support cast. He also has a huge house in Akron, is from the state, and would love to bring a title to the city.
Having said all of that, it again looks unlikely. James is in a stable, smart environment in Miami. They make great moves year after year and constantly refresh and update their roster and treat the King brilliantly. The front office and ownership in Cleveland wasn’t the same in LeBron’s first Cavs stint, and it hasn’t become much better since he upped sticks and left.
You feel a return to the Cavs would be the riskiest move of the lot, but it would be one that has the highest chance of giving him a long-term title window. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are aging; Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters haven’t even hit their prime yet. Having said that, it’s still hard to see a Cavs return. It all ended badly last time.
The Houston Rockets will likely pursue LeBron as they look to improve their defense and land a third star. Questions about the cap will be asked, but if they could pull it off it would be a fantastic, star-studded team. Imagine a core of James Harden-James-Chandler Parsons-Howard. Even if that tough Western Conference, it would be the favorite to succeed.
Despite that, it looks very unlikely — to me, anyway — that the four-time MVP leaves South Beach anytime soon. Even if they lose in the NBA Finals.
They are so well-run and will once again reload the roster this offseason to help LeBron pursue a fifth Eastern Conference crown and another NBA title. The saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and LeBron’s time with the Heat has been anything but a broken experience. There’s no need to try and fix it and leave.
(Second aside: If anything, I could see Miami pursue another star. Don’t be surprised to see them go after Melo this offseason.)