Yes, this is one of 918 million published LeBron James articles that you’ve either already read, or will read, over the next month, as the basketball world ushers in it’s second season: Free agency. But this is not just free agency. This will be the third, highly-anticipated installment of The Decision. So what’s so different about this piece? Well, I’m predicting that LeBron will sign with the Phoenix Suns, so there’s that. Kidding, of course. This collection of words will consist (mostly) of fiction, and well, fiction is fun.
We know that over the next few weeks, with LeBron James once again playing the featured role in the NBA’s offseason of expected madness, with the rumor mill churning incredulously and media outlets will be spewing an abundance of lists, rankings, predictions and the hottest of takes as to where The King will be transplanting his talents next.
What we also know, is that some (almost all) teams have not a single hope in hell of landing LBJ’s services at the end of Decision trilogy. But one can dream, can’t they? I was once told that dreaming is free.
So what would it look like if LeBron signed with each of the 30 NBA teams? What would/could his roster look like? What that change anything for the upcoming draft? Which other free agents could join him? What would “success” look like for each team? Could he win a title with any of the league’s current rosters? These are all entertaining questions, thoughts and scenarios, even under the agreement that the majority of these situations would be less likely to happen than if an asteroid from Adam Silver’s home planet crashed into the earth.
On a serious note, I think this has become a critical point in James’ career where the balance of the Lifestyle-versus-Basketball paradigm is starting to shift. Sure, winning is still important to him, it’s in his DNA. But after three titles, eight straight NBA Finals appearances and countless accolades, this upcoming season is where the “Lifestyle” enters the forefront. He will ultimately choose what’s most important to his family and setting up the rest of his life, OVER the perfect basketball scenario that will give him perhaps the best chance at winning another title.
Alright, back to the fun. Alphabetically, let’s try these situations on for size.
Oh good, let’s start with potentially the WORST possible place LeBron could land. While James has an affinity for reciting opposing teams rosters [link], I’d bet at least one of my kids that he couldn’t name even five players on this Hawks squad. Can’t you see it now? LeBron dishing to Kent Bazemore in the corner, throwing half court lobs to Mike Muscala and standing aimlessly on the wing while Dennis Schroder does whatever it is that Dennis Schroder does. Pure magic. I saw someone make the ridiculous statement that LeBron could take any roster in the league and get to at least the final four. Haha. And since when do 17-win teams make the playoffs? Because that’s what this Atlanta team has written all over it next season. Hard bounce pass.