I am a huge Boston Celtics fan, so where the best player in the NBA Lebron James plays in 2018-19 matters to me. After looking at the potential destinations and obstacles to each, I tend to think he is staying in his beloved Ohio. I say this for several reasons—some basketball and some non-basketball. But the number one reason to me is I think he likes being the good guy, he remembers how bad his first move was, and how it devastated Cleveland. He has a family and there is no ideal, ready-made landing spot a la Miami for him to join this time where he’d fit in. I think he opts for at least one more year with the Cavs.
Lebron the basketball player is a realist. He has faced Golden State with four stars. He sees what the Celtics and 76ers are building in the East. He is nearing 35 years old and cannot beat a great team without help. ADULT help, not kids down the road help. He has a small window. That very window eliminates teams. The Lakers, with all their young talent and cap space, are the clubhouse leader. But they need two players to pair with LBJ. The names most often linked to that super team? Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. And that’s the problem.
Both Lebron and Paul have to tell their currents teams by June 29th if they will opt in to current deals. Each is a one-year contract. Here Is the problem: which one commits first? Timing is everything. LBJ opts out, he sends message to PG13 that he is going to—?—Paul George stays? LBJ needs to find a team with more players a la Philly or Boston. I am not sure LBJ knows what he wants to do and I think PG13 will resign with the Thunder. That forces King James to stay in Ohio.
Kawhi Leonard is an elite player and a top ten talent. However, he is in a very public dispute with his current team- The San Antonio Spurs- and they are in no hurry to do a trade. Again, Lebron and Paul George know this. And they have deadlines to make decisions. And the Spurs do too. Leonard also has a tricky leg injury and if the Spurs move him they would send him out East. I think he is stuck in Texas and if LBJ is smart, he knocks this guy out of the plan.
Finally, think about how important the draft is and how it impacted Lebron’s decision. Let me explain- If the 76ers took Jayson Tatum at last year’s draft, they would be a PERFECT place for King James. Instead they took an injury-prone non-shooter while arch rival Boston took Tatum. That decision changed the entire landscape of the NBA. And makes the Cs a huge force for years to come. Golden State is too good and two kid stars plus LBJ is not good enough to beat this Historic Warriors team. By staying In the East, his route to the finals? Much easier. And family will be with him. In Ohio.