By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on June 26, 2014
LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. He may not be the reigning MVP anymore, but it’s hard to deny that he’s still the best that the league has to offer. Now, James has exercised his early termination option for next season and is an unrestricted free agent and leaving every team trying to see if they can land the NBA’s top prize. Here are the unofficial odds of each team signing LeBron.
The Hawks are actually in a terrific place moving forward with a great coach, a ton of talent, youth, and cap-space to work with. However, it’s a bit far-fetched to imagine them as a realistic destination for LeBron.
With how Boston has pursued Kevin Love so far this offseason, it’s pretty clear that they are looking for the home run. Though it’s not likely by any stretch that James would end up in Boston, you have to imagine they’ll launch some sort of pursuit.
Brooklyn has no cap-space, scarce draft picks, and a lot of aging veterans on their plate right now. It seems legitimately impossible that they’d be simply able to sign James.
While LeBron playing in Charlotte hardly seems likely, the situation with the Hornets would be near ideal. Charlotte has cap-space, young assets and a need at the position. It almost surely won’t happen, though, even if the situation is right.
The majority of the buzz around the Bulls this offseason seems to regard their pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, but they could also be a contender to land James. They’d have to give up something in a sign-and-trade, but it’s possible. If LeBron wants to stifle the Michael Jordan comparisons, though, there are better ideas.
With a bevy of young players and the number one overall pick, Cleveland is becoming an increasingly attractive destination. Depending on if LeBron wants to redeem himself and go home, Cleveland is one of the more likely landing spots for the King.
Some people consider the Mavericks to be more serious contenders for LeBron than others, including Dirk Nowtizki. However, I just don’t see it happening. Dallas isn’t the destination it once was. The Tyson Chandler trade shows they’re trying to make a run, but it’s a move I don’t see coming to fruition regarding James.
The Nuggets would have to clear cap-space to sign LeBron, but I don’t think that would really matter. In essence, it’s just hard to imagine James playing in the Mile High city.
Though you have to expect that Stan Van Gundy will want to shake things up in the Motor City, LeBron doesn’t seem like a likely option for them. It feels safe to say that the two parties will remain separated.
The Warriors are another team being thrown in seriously in the Kevin Love sweepstakes, but they don’t seem nearly as likely to land LeBron. Given their rise to prominence and ability to make deals happen, though, you can’t rule out Golden State entirely.
The Houston Rockets traded Omer Asik on Wednesday night, clearing cap-space and making it clear that they’re ready to be big players in free agency. That may or may not involve LeBron, but you have to consider the Rockets one of the serious contenders to land his services.
Honestly, I don’t see any way that the Pacers get James simply due to the vitriol between the two parties. There’s no cap-space really, but there are tradable assets. Never say never, I suppose.
The Clippers are the dark-horse in this sweepstakes for LeBron. James is close friends with Chris Paul, would most likely want to end up in a big market, and would be able to stay in the limelight. In my eyes, the Clippers are actually the second most-likely landing spot for James.
You can almost never rule anything out, but I don’t think there’s any inkling of a chance that LeBron goes to the Lakers. I just can’t imagine him joining Kobe, even if Bryant is seemingly on his last legs. Perhaps that’s just me, but it seems nearly impossible.
Memphis doesn’t really have the cap-flexibility right now to work a signing, though they could work a sign-and-trade I suppose. Even with that, Memphis doesn’t really seem like the place where James would end up. Sorry, Grizzlies.
Despite the ruckus his free agency is causing, staying in Miami is still the most likely option for James. With him able to restructure his deal along with Wade and Bosh, they could take less money to bring in more pieces to help keep them in contention. Or LeBron could re-sign for a max contract. Either way, his best options still lie with the Heat.
The Bucks are in a pretty bad place, but LeBron would change the franchise. Their biggest problem is that they are in Milwaukee, which doesn’t exactly have the allure needed to land a star of James’ caliber.
Another small-market team with little-to-no chance of landing James, the Timberwolves are struggling to keep their own star player in Kevin Love. It seems more than unlikely that they’d be able to replace him by signing LeBron.
Though any team would be better by adding LeBron, the Pelicans seem unlikely to have a great deal of interest as they still want to see what they can do with the core they’ve built. It’s doubtful that they’ll make much noise at all during this ordeal.
The Knicks have no cap-room, very few assets, and a mess of a roster right now. However, if LeBron wanted to end up playing at the basketball Mecca in MSG, they would make it work some way. For that reason alone, they can’t have terrible odds in all of this.
Yes, Kevin Durant and LeBron together would be nigh unstoppable. However, there’s almost no way that happens. Sam Presti can make things happen, but that seems just a little too far-fetched to be perceived as a legitimate possibility.
Though the Magic seem to be building something nice in Orlando, it’s not nearly nice enough to think that they’re a destination for LeBron. They could be a force in the future, but not because of the presence of James.
It’s relatively unlikely that LeBron would sign with the 76ers, but they are also one of the few teams that have the flexibility to sign him outright. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’s an interesting monkey wrench to throw into the equation.
While Phoenix is a more attractive destination than you might think, I’m not sure they legitimately have a shot at signing James. It’d make them a scary team moving forward, I just don’t think it’ll happen.
I’m not sure the Blazers want to break up their core, even if that would mean signing James. Given that and their lack of cap flexibility, Portland seems highly unlikely as a spot that LeBron would sign.
With the Kings still trying to gain any kind of traction, it’s hard to imagine them having a shot at landing LeBron. Stranger things have happened, but I wouldn’t hold my breath in Sactown.
How do you make a team that just won the NBA Championship better? By adding the best player on the planet. However, that doesn’t seem like anything that’s going to happen in the next week or so, but an NBA idealist can dream.
The idea of LeBron James playing in Toronto doesn’t seem like anything that would come to fruition. Masai Ujiri may be a sorcerer, but I don’t think even his magic is that strong.
The Jazz are rebuilding and adding James would certainly speed up that process. However, Kings don’t normally plan to take their throne in places like Utah.
Washington is becoming an increasingly fun place to imagine players in, but I don’t think they are to a point where signing James is a possibility. It’d be fun, but I don’t see it happening in any capacity.
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