Cleveland was already a dumpster fire with the Browns as bad as they were all these years, and with the Cavaliers not doing much better since their savior LeBron James left them in 2010. James returned to the promised land and delivered his title, but just like before, he is caught up in drama off the court — and this time it comes back to him.
His teammate, and perceived apprentice Kyrie Irving, has decided he’s done living in the shadow of James and wants out of Cleveland. Something he said he wouldn’t do years ago, but just like LeBron, he wants to break hearts. This move on Irving’s part seems asinine; lest we forget he was the one who hit the game-winning shot in ‘Episode II’ of Cleveland vs. Golden State Finals trilogy.
LeBron may follow Irving out the door after this season, it was reported by ESPN’s Chris Sheridan that The King is definitely leaving Cleveland:
NBA source said today: "This will be LeBron's final season in Cleveland. He is 100 percent leaving. Relationship with owners beyond repair."
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) August 16, 2017
Since this tweet, there have been other NBA writers who have disputed this fact, but this may not be classified as Fake News just yet. It’s very reasonable to think that LeBron would be unhappy with ownership after they fired GM Dan Glibert before he could pull the trigger on either a Paul Gorge or Jimmy Butler trade.
LeBron says “To hell with Cleveland and my legacy of staying there a second time. I want my rings.”
Because at the end of the day, the number rings he has will be compared to Micheal Jordan’s — no matter what team he played for.
Here are four teams who would be interesting fits for LeBron:
This seems almost too impractical yet so cool to think about. Think about this starting lineup: Markelle Fultz (PG), J.J. Redick (SG), Ben Simmons (SF), LeBron James (PF), and Joel Embiid (C). That starting five wouldn’t even need to play defense, they are almost guaranteed to score every possession. You have not one, but two guys who can pass the ball like Magic Johnson/Pistol Pete, a lights-out three point guy, a future All-Star at point, and and dominant 7-foot-2 center who can drain threes.
It’s more absurd than the Warriors roster last season with the addition of Kevin Durant. LeBron may need the Sixers more than they need him. This team is already great (on paper so far) without LeBron, but they become a super team and guaranteed trip to the Finals with him.
Also, Ben Simmons has cultivated a bromance with LeBron; perhaps Simmons could be his new apprentice to pass the torch to.
Assuming Lonzo Ball is the stud he was during the Summer League, this would make a great trio of Ball, LeBron and Brandon Ingram.
Ball’s passing ability was surprisingly above-average for a guy known for his scoring ability while with UCLA. He shares that natural instinct that LeBron and Simmons possess for finding an open man by making a pass that defies the laws of physics.
The real test in 2018 to determine if Lebron heads out west is if Ingram can solidify himself as a viable point guard in the NBA. We saw flashes of greatness last year, but the rookie only started 40 games for the Lakers. Now that D’angelo Russell is gone, this will be his team.
LeBron could go follow what should have been his future teammate, Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves as they are a sleeper team in the Western Conference this season.
He would also be joining Andrew Wiggins, who the Cavs probably should have kept on the roster instead of trading for Kevin Love.
LeBron would be the missing puzzle piece to this roster to make them a contender in the West against teams like the Warriors and Spurs. An ideal starting lineup would probably go: Tyrus Jones (PG), Jamal Crawford (SG), Jimmy Butler (SF), LeBron James (PF), and Andrew Wiggins (C). This would be a relatively small lineup but that is on par for the current trend in the NBA.
New York Knicks
Assuming the Knicks are able to get a good return for Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis agrees to stay and be built around, and the Knicks draft well after inevitably tanking in 2017. Those are a lot of “ifs” and the only reason LeBron may consider this team is because he is a fan of the New York spotlight and has highlight-reel performances at Madison Square Garden because of it.
This whole plan to bring LeBron to New York is contingent on if the team brings in younger players from the draft and through trades. No more signings like Derick Rose or Joakim Noah.
The trend here is LeBron, if he leaves the Cavs, will be searching for a team with younger players. Not just for their talent but for the fact that he will be seen as a leader and that the team will follow his lead. He has won three NBA Finals on two different teams. Forget the “is he clutch?” argument, the man knows how to win and that should be respected.