While there has been plenty of speculation of what LeBron James will decide in free agency, he’s largely dismissed that discussion by explaining his sole focus is on the season and current playoff run.
But with the Cleveland Cavaliers facing elimination in the NBA Finals on Friday, James figures to soon begin the process of evaluating his next move and future. If the Cavs force the Golden State Warriors to a Game 5, that will be played Monday.
At best, James can delay how rabid talks will become by sending the Finals to a Game 7, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 17. In the meantime, reports indicate the Los Angeles Lakers are among several teams James will eventually consider signing with.
The Boston Celtics, Cavaliers and Warriors are also some of the teams believed to have an opportunity to sign James.
According to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times, once the time comes to it, James will base his free agency decision on where he can compete for a title:
The only rumblings have been this: that James’ decision will be entirely about basketball and he will go where he can have the best chance for a championship.
Excluding the Warriors, because James joining forces with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant doesn’t seem to be a plausible scenario, the Philadelphia 76ers might best meet James’ criteria.
They boast a group of talented young players, including Ben Simmons who would allow James to play off ball, which is a reported preference for next season. However, they’re in a bit of a transition after parting ways with Bryan Colangelo.
If not the Sixers, the Celtics and Lakers would also appear to be attractive options to James. Though, signing with Boston would mean reuniting with Kyrie Irving, presumably at least for one season.
The Lakers’ reported interest in signing James — and Paul George — has been well documented. They will head into free agency with the most salary cap space available and a young core that’s shown plenty of promise.
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