Get ready, we are about to have a major power shift in the NBA and the King is going to decide who is going to be playing for next year’s championship.
Before we get to the Free Agency that has the opportunity to be wild this summer, let’s look at the definites of next season for the NBA landscape. There are three major headlines going into next season. We know the first one, the Warriors are going to bring back another team that can win a championship next season with Kevin Durant definitely returning this summer. He is getting into elite status as he became just the 6th player in NBA history to win back to back Finals MVPs. We know what the Warriors are going to be like and we know that they are going to coast until it matters, but can a team truly compete with them when it matters.
That leads into our second headline which is where will the other Core three or four form, the Western or Eastern Conference. This all comes down to the Free Agency of Lebron James, Paul George and Chris Paul. There is potential that Lebron goes to Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles or the longshot in Oklahoma City. Let’s view each of those potential landing spots starting with the one that he is currently in. Lebron can opt out of his contract with the Cavs and then sign a monster 1+1 deal to go right back to Cleveland. Why would he do this? Well he makes the most money that way, he remains the hero in Cleveland and Chris Paul would most likely join forces with him. So suddenly Cleveland is back to their big three status that they had with Kyrie. Cleveland can finally right one of their wrongs and trade away Kevin Love for draft picks or bench players, then having the cap space to also acquire Paul George. Cleveland Big three of CP3, Lebron and PG13.
The next option is Philly, the city of brotherly love and the potential ending of the process if King James comes to town. Philadelphia has the cap space to go after a max deal with Lebron that would offer the perk of playing with Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and potentially Markelle Fultz if he ever figures his offensive game back out. Philly just like Cleveland can make a depth filling trade if they decide to dump Fultz to a team that is willing to wait out his potential. Either way it is an enticing option for Lebron. Another enticing part is if Philly can convince JJ Redick to come back on a 4 million dollar contract, after he made a 23 million this season, it wouldn’t be such a bad deal as he could view it as a 2 year 27 million dollar contract if you combine the two. That is good stuff if he can win a championship with Philly next season, he averaged 18 Points during this years Postseason and would be the best pure shooter Lebron has played with since Ray Allen. Philadelphia Core Four of Simmons, Lebron, Redick and Embiid.
There isn’t much to analyze when it comes to the potential destinations of Los Angeles or Oklahoma City because they are long shots but could be options if Lebron wants to join forces with either Lonzo Ball or Russell Westbrook. This would see Lebron going to a Western Conference that will see both the Rockets and Warriors at full strength which doesn’t make much sense for him if he wants a title. Either way Paul George and Carmelo will be there. LA Core Four of Ball, Lebron, George and Carmelo… OKC core four of Westbrook, Lebron, George and Carmelo.
Houston is the favorite in my mind to get his services if he decides to leave the Land and it is clear that he would be the piece that puts them over the edge to beat the Warriors. Just imagine how elite the Rockets would be with Lebron, Harden and Paul coming down the stretch of playoff games. It would be the most enticing competition the league has seen in several years. With Capela at center they are already built for the current NBA and Lebron would love the opportunity to play with that much shooting and vertical spacing. Houston Big Three of CP3, Harden and Lebron.
The third headline is how good a healthy Celtics team is going to be next season, they will have the same talent that Golden State will have next season with a future MVP in Jayson Tatum teaming with all stars Kyrie, Hayward and Horford. The Green Machine is going to be a force to be reckoned with and something that Lebron will have to weigh if he goes back to the Eastern Conference.
Oh yeah Kawhi Leonard is potentially on the trade market… This offseason is going to be wild.