- LeBron James’ free agency is shaping up to leave him no perfect options.
- According to reports, some of the star players James may be interested in recruiting may not be available or may not choose to play with James.
- It could lead to a scenario where James’ free agency is less impactful than imagined as he makes some sacrifices in a final decision.
One week before NBA free agency begins, it appears as if LeBron James’ options may be getting even tighter.
James is expected to decline his player option to become a free agent. The Cleveland Cavaliers remain an option for James, but rumours and reports have linked James to teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Houston Rockets.
One huge aspect of James’ next move will be figuring out where he can best contend for another championship. With the Golden State Warriors ruling the NBA, James presumably needs to team up with other stars to have a realistic chance of competing, regardless of where he lands.
However, with free agency nearing, it appears as though some of James’ best options are falling away.
According to USA Today’s Sam Amick, James’ camp believes free agent All-Star forward Paul George may be more likely to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder than previously believed. George has frequently been mentioned as a player who could team up with James to go to a team like the Lakers.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein had also reported that many people around the league think the Thunder’s chances of keeping George are better than expected when they traded for him last June.
If George stays in Oklahoma City, there will be fewer All-Stars available to team up with LeBron. Amick reported that Chris Paul, a close friend of James’, is expected to come to an agreement with the Rockets on a max contract, despite rumours of a rift between the two sides.
Joining Paul and James Harden in Houston would be a good option for James, but there are substantial financial hurdles in the way, and there are rumours that James’ family might not be comfortable in Houston.
Similarly, Amick reported that the San Antonio Spurs are telling teams that if they trade Kawhi Leonard, it will be to an Eastern Conference team. The Spurs have also told reporters that they hope to repair the relationship with Leonard. Reports indicated Leonard wants to be traded to the Lakers this offseason.
James could try to arrange a situation where he goes to a team that also trades for Leonard, but it makes the entire process more complicated. The Cavs have reportedly reached out to the Spurs about Leonard, but there’s no traction on a trade, and the Cavs have less-attractive assets than some other Eastern Conference teams.
Of course, there are other players available, and as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has said, James can make virtually any situation happen if he wants to.
But if James is unable to get some of the bigger stars available this offseason to team up, it’s worth wondering what Plan B might be. James could re-sign with the Cavaliers on a short-term deal that allows him to weigh his future again in a year or two.Windhorst wondered on “The Lowe Post” podcast if James might end up having to sacrifice some of his desires – team competitiveness or what makes his family happiest.
Things can change quickly in the NBA, but perhaps the idea of James forming the next great super-team this summer is less likely than previously believed.
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