LeBron James is once again set to become a free agent and leave the Cleveland Cavaliers behind. According to league sources, the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat are interested in his services. Not to mention the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks likely to have interest as well. Most of the suitors are wasting their time because the 76ers are the best choice.
Firstly, there is a reason LeBron went to eight straight finals. He played in a weak Eastern Conference his entire career. LeBron knows that if stays in the east with a stacked roster, he can continue his streak to the finals. Former NBA stars Scottie Pippen and Tracy McGrady discussed talent disparity in the east.
During Friday night's press conference, James dropped a few hints that could rule out potential suitors. “I still have so much to give to the game,” James said. “I still want to be in championship mode.” If any team is not a serious contender or positioning themselves to win championships, expect every call to be forwarded to voicemail.
James wants to team up with a stacked roster. “I think it's always great to be able to be around other great minds, and other great ball players.” Usually, he teams up superstars or talented friends. The 76ers meet all those requirements.
LeBron can become a super team with Ben Simmons. Julius Eriving, also known as Dr. J, gave high praise to the young phenom. “Ben is a special player. I think it's almost impossible to stay in front of him because his handle is so good.” Not to mention getting a chance to play with Joel Embiid, arguably the best big man in the NBA.
According to FS1’s Chris Broussard, James wants to play off the ball. If that is the case, the 76ers are an ideal place. Simmons can take pressure off him and allow for James to play a true small forward role. Broussard explains further what he has heard from sources.
Simmons and James also have a close relationship off the court. Earlier in the regular season, James spoke about it before the Cavs faced the 76ers. “I’m honored that a young, gifted kid would even allow me to be a part of his life and be able to mentor him and be a big brother to him. I will continue to do that as long as he lets me.”
The 76ers also have perimeter shooters such as JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli, and Robert Covington. If that isn’t enough for King James, he can always persuade some of his old teammates to follow him to Philadelphia. Kyle Korver could be an option or even Kevin Love. According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Cavs are looking to trade Love once James leaves.
Another factor swings in favor of the 76ers is the general manager vacancy. Recently, former GM Bryan Colangelo parted ways with the team after several twitter scandals. The 76ers could hire David Griffin, a former Cavs GM, to boost their chances of landing James. When Griffin resigned his position last year, James showed his appreciation.
The Houston Rockets have been linked to James and some think that is the best place for him. Chris Paul and James Harden make Houston an attractive place to play. Even Chris Bosh, his former Miami Heat teammate suggested that the Rockets would be a great destination for James.
However, ESPN.com's Chris Haynes said he's been led to believe the Rockets are not a legitimate landing spot. “I've been told that's not a realistic option.” Financially it doesn’t make sense.
The contracts of Chris Paul and Clint Capella are problematic. According to KPRC’s Lainie Fritz, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said, “We have to sign Chris and we want to keep Clint.” If Paul gets a max deal and Clint gets overpaid, that makes it difficult to sign LeBron.
At the end of the day, LeBron’s decision will be a mystery to most people outside of his circle. The only thing that is clear is that he’s still in championship mode and wants to play with a super team. The 76ers give him the best chance in the east in do that.