this time the conversation happening in NBA circles isn’t about whether or not the Cavs can come back in the series. It’s about whether or not LeBron will come back to Cleveland after he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2018.
Multiple league sources I’ve spoken to think the Lakers or Clippers are viable destinations for King James. Jalen Rose said this week on First Take that he expects LeBron to make a move from Cleveland to California, where he already owns a house 30 minutes away from Staples Center. The Lakers make sense if LeBron wants to build a sustainable winner with a core blend of veterans and youthful talent like Paul George — if, as NBA gossip suggests, George truly is “hell-bent” on going to L.A. — and Brandon Ingram. The Clippers make sense if LeBron wants to form a Banana Boat Voltron with Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony.
Well that didn't take long. I mean I guess good for LeBron. Would you want to live in Cleveland your whole life? When you're a free agent, you do earn the right to go wherever you like. James jumping from new super team to new super team is very lame, but now that Kevin Durant pulled the "If you can't beat them, join them" card, I guess Lebron feels free to bolt Cleveland again and expects less backlash.
Lots of what ifs in the article. Pacers would have to retain Paul George until free agency and then lose him for nothing, and other teams would have to stupidly bail the Lakers out of the Deng and Mozgov contracts. The Clipper rumor is more realistic, since neither Carmelo or Wade would cost much to trade for, but in order to add Melo and LeBron's contracts you'd have to get rid of either Griffin or Jordan (maybe both). I don't think a team in 2019 of an elder version of the Banana Boat foursome wins you a championship.
The more realistic scenario for LeBron is he does what he has been doing the past few years and holds Cleveland hostage with the threat of leaving to get what he wants. The Knicks aren't going to get anything good for Carmelo. Yes they'd like salary cap relief, but no one has offered them that for Anthony. In the below trade they get a decent big man in Tristan Thompson (They'd have to also take on a contract like Shumpert's to make the numbers work).
Having his buddy Carmelo in Cleveland would be enough to keep LeBron happy and would give the Cavs a Big 4 on paper to go against the Warriors Big 4. I still don't think they get past Golden State with that line-up and they could even end up a worse team, but again the goal in Cleveland is always just to make LeBron happy, so he doesn't leave.
At least we're not hearing rumors of LeBron pulling Durant's "Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em" card: