LeBron James’ future stands as one of the tallest stories in the NBA, especially now that the Kyrie Irving trade request has fully played out.
James can opt to become a free agent in the summer of 2018, and all reports point to the Cleveland Cavaliers preparing for this reality. That the core of the championship team in Cleveland has already been overhauled is just one of many reasons whispers around the league point to James departing from Ohio for the second time.
Whether that turns out to be true remains to be seen, but Cleveland is now on the clock to make a case to James to stay. That could come in many forms, including providing a summer free agency plan to King James’ liking.
If the Cavaliers want to make James a happy camper, it sounds like targeting another potential free agent that could test the market in 2018 might be the move for Cleveland – or any team interested in LeBron – should make.
“Whispers around the NBA” point to the fact that James “would love” to play alongside current reigning Most Valuable Player and new Mr. Triple-Double Russell Westbrook, reports Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
Westbrook and James would be an insane pairing, with two triple-double threats on the court at the same time that will just as quickly deflate a team with a thunderous dunk rather than the statistical marvel’s they create.
The question, of course, is whether Westbrook will be willing to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s worn his loyalty to the franchise on his sleeve, but if LeBron comes calling this summer would he be willing to look the other way?
That’s a question not just for the Cavaliers, either. A team like the Los Angeles Lakers, who have very-openly made it clear that their desire is to sign not one but two stars next summer, could offer James and a superstar of his choice a chance to play together.
If it’s Westbrook, the Lakers would also be pitching a homecoming return to Russell, who grew up in Los Angeles and played for the UCLA Bruins during his college years.
Finding a way to give LeBron exactly what he wants is key for the Cavaliers, and any team interested in making a run at signing the three-time NBA champion and four-time NBA MVP. The Cavaliers have tradeable pieces to work toward that goal, while other teams will look to create salary space to be the home of James’ next superteam.