According to an ESPN analyst, the Houston Rockets are not likely to land LeBron James in what will be a very competitive free agency sweepstakes.
As expected, the Western Conference Finals matchup between the Warriors and Rockets was the most competitive series of the postseason. It was a seven game series between the league’s two best teams, and the winner would likely win the NBA championship due to the weaker opponents in the east.
The Cavs are now in the dreaded 0-3 deficit, a hole that no team has ever climbed out of. Game 4 in Cleveland may very well be LeBron James’ last in his hometown. The Cavaliers not only botched the Kyrie Irving trade last year, but they also failed to trade their coveted Brooklyn pick for a star that would’ve helped LeBron in the Finals.
The Cavs won’t win a championship this season, and with an aging roster, they won’t win another one without a major overhaul. All of these factors have led to rumors that LeBron is considering taking his talents elsewhere, again.
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The Sixers seem to be high on the list, as is the chance to play under Gregg Popovich for the Spurs. There have also been many rumors that Paul George and LeBron will team up together on the Lakers. Also, the Houston Rockets could be a great fit for LeBron.
Houston is clearly the second best team in the NBA, and LeBron would likely put them over the top. This is a star driven league, and a core of Paul, Harden and James is all of the star power that any team could need.
Will LeBron join the Rockets? ESPN’s Chris Haynes doesn’t think so. According to his sources, the reporter told The Athletic’s TK Show (h/t NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman) that Houston isn’t a legitimate option for The King.
“Houston has been linked a lot. I’ve been told that that’s not a realistic option.”
In order to build a super team by signing LeBron, the Rockets would first have to re-sign Chris Paul. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Chris Paul will likely demand a max contract. Additionally, Clint Capela is a restricted free agent, and the Rockets would like to re-sign the 24-year-old center.
Excluding Houston’s other free agents, re-signing just Paul and Capela easily puts Houston over the cap. The best option to get LeBron to Houston could be a sign-and-trade, but Cleveland would have to agree on a deal to make it work.
Of course, this is just a rumor from one source, so LeBron to Houston could still happen. The main hurdle for the Rockets will be making enough cap room to sign the four-time MVP. But as Daryl Morey told reporters when asked about his team’s tight salary cap, the Rockets have “new math.”