The Houston Rockets had a successful season, winning a league-high 65 games and pushing Golden State to a seventh game in the Western Conference Finals. Nevertheless, the team is still disappointed and exploring avenues for how they can get better.
Chris Paul is already recruiting his buddy LeBron James to join the team through free agency. Here’s the story from Marc Stein, writing through the New York Times:
“Don’t get me wrong: There will still be plenty of talk over the next two weeks about what James will do July 1 and the growing belief that he’ll be leaving his home-state Cavaliers this offseason to join a team better suited to consistently challenge Golden State.
“Rest assured that the Rockets’ understandably devastated Chris Paul — who made a fast exit from Toyota Center late Monday night after being forced to watch the biggest game of his life from the bench because of his hamstring injury — has already begun his recruitment of James to Houston.”
Will James Join the Rockets?
James is currently battling the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals. They lost Game 1 and will try to regroup against a more-talented opponent. Assuming James and the Cavs ultimately fall to the Warriors, then it’s almost a given that he’ll move on to a team that’s capable of beating Golden State.
He’s probably not too worried about what Paul has to say regarding free agency right now. Instead, he’s focused on the Finals and winning a fourth-career title.
Furthermore, it’s hard to predict what LeBron will do. Few had any idea that he was leaving Cleveland for Miami in the 2010 offseason. He also surprised people again when making the choice to leave the Heat for the Cavaliers.
Given that many think Houston is an obvious destination, it wouldn’t be surprising if he went elsewhere given his history. But then again, the Rockets would be a strong choice if James is looking for more-talented teammates.
They have potential MVP James Harden, Paul, Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and some other good role players. Of course, Houston may have to restructure their team if LeBron were to sign. He’s said repeatedly that he won’t take anything less than a max deal.
Other Potential Landing Spots for LeBron
Other teams that are in the Lebron sweepstakes include the Philadelphia 76ers, L.A. Lakers, and the Miami Heat. The Sixers and Lakers are currently considered bigger favorites than a LeBron return to Miami. Of course, he could also re-sign with the Cavs, especially if they can pull off a miraculous upset of the Warriors.
Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that LeBron’s decision will have a big impact on who wins the NBA Finals next season. Philly has opened with the third-best odds of winning the 2019 NBA championship at major Las Vegas sportsbooks. The primary reason why, besides their young talent, is because they could sign LeBron.