Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will be the star of this summer’s NBA free agent market. And as is the case with all players who expect the league maximum salary (or anything even remotely close), the safest bet is that he remains with his current team.
While LeBron’s teammates in Cleveland are not the best supporting cast in the world, they’re good enough to form a squad that currently sports a league-best 46-14 record. He’s in a winning situation. The team is one of only a few legitimate championship contenders in the league. Mainly due to LeBron. But the skills of his teammates fit in well around him.
While select other teams can offer LeBron a maximum contract this summer, the Cavs can offer a longer deal, with more money involved. And most of the teams with cap room this summer are flawed, rebuilding squads that won’t offer LeBron a better shot at a championship than his current team offers.
How about LeBron James to the Lakers? Would he entertain the notion? Sure, why not! Human beings tend to entertain lots of notions. Have you entertained the notion of marrying Jessica Alba? Is it likely? Heck no.
The Lakers have no cap room. So LeBron would have to sign at a bargain rate and make less money than Jerome James (0.0 ppg) makes on the Chicago Bulls this season.
How about trades? The Cavs will never trade LeBron James. They’d consider it only if they knew for a fact he was going to sign elsewhere, and even then the team would probably refuse to believe LeBron was really leaving and would do everything possible to change his mind if there was any indication he might take off.
Does LeBron want to be a Laker? I’m sure the thought has entered his mind. They’re the NBA champions. Every good player probably imagines themselves joining the league’s best, somehow, at some point. At least in conversation with their buddies on a rainy day.
There certainly are positives to LeBron sacrificing his NBA salary for the sake of signing with the Lakers. His market value would increase being in Los Angeles. He’d be playing on a team pretty much guaranteed to win lots of championships. As Kobe Bryant gets old, LeBron would still be improving (if that’s even possible). So as Kobe faded, LeBron would gain even more glory. It’s fun stuff to think about. But likely? No.
I’d say there’s a 70 percent chance the Cavaliers keep LeBron. A 15 percent chance the Knicks get him. A 14.5 percent chance some other team in the league gets him. And a 0.5 percent chance (make sure you understand, that’s half of one percent) the Lakers get him.
So, it’s not impossible!
It’s also possible you win the lottery tomorrow. Good luck with that!