Carmelo Anthony is soaking up the limelight as he is courted by various NBA teams around the league. But with all due respect to Melo, there is one prized possession that every team would love to get their hands on this offseason, and he is the four-time league MVP named LeBron James. James has made it a point that this year’s free agency would be quite different than when he broke hearts in Cleveland and joined the Miami Heat after “the decision.” But just because all of the hoopla isn’t surrounding him, that doesn’t mean that teams aren’t doing all they can to convince James to join their team.
As things start to shake out, it looks like there are four teams that may have a serious chance at landing LeBron this next year, so here is a look at what each team has to offer.
The team that may have started as the dark horse in the LeBron sweepstakes, but now find themselves as legit suitors, is the Phoenix Suns. Last year, the Suns were expected to be merely a 20-win team. Therefore, it was a huge surprised when they surpassed everyone’s expectations and finished the season with 48 wins and just one win away from the playoffs in Jeff Hornacek’s first year on the bench. Aside from their success last year, the Suns also have Drew Bledsoe in the backcourt -who is also managed by James’ agent Rich Paul- and LeBron has stated that he likes the way Bledsoe plays. On top of that, Phoenix has pitched that they have enough salary cap space to bring both LeBron and potentially either Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh to town as well, which would immediately make the Suns a contender in the West. Right now the Suns are at 75/1 odds to win the NBA Championship, but that would drastically change if they were able to land two huge free agents this offseason.
The Houston Rockets welcomed Carmelo Anthony to town earlier this week with banners of him holding the Larry O’Brien trophy to entice him to join Dwight Howard and James Harden. However, the Rockets are now in serious contention to nab James, who would change the entire dynamic of how that team operates. Howard has always been the key big man on his team and that has often times limited his playing abilities, as we saw during his stint in Los Angeles. However, since James can easily play all five positions on the court, that would open up a ton of space for Howard to return to prominence as the best big man in the league. The irony with Houston is that if they don’t get James or Anthony, they instead may try and lure Chris Bosh away from Miami, which could then hinder the Heat’s chances of trying to get LeBron to stay in South Beach.
The other Texas team that is interested in James is the Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban stated a few weeks ago that he wasn’t interested in bringing in a player that was asking for a max salary, but that might change now that James is showing interest. The Mavericks have a trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler, so throwing LeBron in the mix would make them one of the toughest two-way teams in the league. The Mavericks currently sit at 45/1 odds to win the NBA Championship in 2015, but you can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers to see how that could change if they were able to land King James.
LeBron James’ story first began quite harmoniously in Cleveland. The story of a kid who grew up in Akron, rising to national prominence at a local high school and then being drafted by Cavaliers makes for a great beginning to any story. However, things then got dicey when LeBron picked up and left town to go to the Heat, where he then won two NBA Championships. But that may all be water under the bridge now, as the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to also be in the mix to bring James back to town. The Cavs have a young team with Kyrie Irving as the star and they recently drafted Andrew Wiggins with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft. Cleveland also just recently signed David Blatt as their head coach, who is coming off of successful stints with teams in Europe. With Irving, Wiggins and a host of other young players, the Cavs are already sitting at 40/1 odds to win the NBA Championship, which should have Cleveland fans excited. But the idea of bringing LeBron James back to town would certainly take the cake and we could be looking at the first NBA Championship in their franchise’s history.
The Miami Heat aren’t out of the conversation and the Los Angeles Lakers hope that LeBron James will listen to their pitch as well. As for where the King ends up, we could be just a few more days away from finding out.