In case you haven’t heard, LeBron James has opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat. There are rumors flying around everywhere as to where King James will land. No matter what anyone else says, if he wants to reach or pass Michael Jordan in rings, he should sign with the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets offer James the best situation to win. A starting five of Patrick Beverley, James Harden, James, Chandler Parsons and Dwight Howard would be the best starting lineup in the NBA, no contest. Even if they lost Parsons, and James replaced him at small forward, the Rockets would still have no match.
To get him, the Rockets would have to trade Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. This task isn’t as tricky as some might think. Asik is a good center and could start for more than half of the teams in the NBA. He looks a little lost at times offensively but he can rebound and play defense with the best frontcourt players in the league.
The Rockets would have been in serious trouble against the Portland Trail Blazers without him. His defense on LaMarcus Aldridge is what pushed that series to a Game 6.
Lin would be the harder sell to a team. He played very poorly in stretches of the playoff series with Portland, and the Rockets averaged more points with him not on the floor. His jump shot still needs work, and his defense lacks at times when he is facing quicker point guards. He is very good at getting to the basket and finishing. He is also smart enough to run an offense. The Rockets would more than likely have to throw in a couple draft picks along with Lin to move him.
The salaries for Asik and Lin next season are around $15 million for each player. However, their contracts are set up so whichever team trades for them will only have to pay about $8.5 million per player towards the salary cap. Asik will be the easy player to trade because of his size and skillset. Lin will probably end up with a team that wants to put some butts in the seats via “Linsanity”.
If James chooses Houston, he will also get a dynamic wing player in Harden. The shooting guard for the Rockets is a player that can shoot lights-out from anywhere on the floor and get to the basket as well as anybody. He is an offensive combination of Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade wrapped up into one player. At 24 years of age, Harden is entering his prime and would be the best offensive player James has ever played with.
Defensively, it looks like Harden sometimes loses interest. This is where having the best player on the planet and a leader in the locker room can help. The best demand the best effort from their coworkers. James may be the perfect person to get Harden, who is more than capable, to play defense.
James would also get one thing he never had in Miami: A player who can be a dominating force in the paint on offense and defense like Dwight Howard. Howard looked like a new player in Houston last season. It seemed as though Kobe was Superman’s kryptonite. His offensive post game improved mightily thanks in part to Hakeem Olajuwon‘s tutelage over the summer. He is the perfect complement for James to dump off too when he is slashing to the basket with multiple defenders on him.
It’s all up to James. If he is only interested in winning NBA Championships, he will sign with the Rockets if they can clear enough cap space. If other factors hold more importance to him, then he won’t be playing for Red Nation.