Tag Archives: LA Lakers


And down the stretch they come! As we race towards July 10th, the first day NBA free agents can officially sign their new contracts; the biggest name in free agency has yet to decide what uniform he’ll be wearing next season. But the finish line is within sight and should be crossed in the next few days from what I’ve been told.

Sources tell me that LeBron James and his people will meet with the two or three finalists in Las Vegas over the next day or so and then make the decision as to where he will be playing next year.

LeBron James Shoot Around Photo

It looks now like it’s a two horse race between the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with an outside shot of the Lakers climbing back into the race if they can convince Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol to sign in L.A. But to use a horse racing term, it’s considered a very “Long Shot”.

The reason the Cavs chances continue to rise is no all-star caliber free agent is willing to take less money and sign with the Heat as of tonight. Pat Riley struck out with Kyle Lowery and Marcin Gortat. He met and left without a verbal commitment from Luol Deng and Pau Gasol. Riley now is said to be talking to Marvin Williams as a potential free agent candidate. I’m not sure that’s the type of player that’s going to knock LeBron’s socks off and make him want to stay in Miami. So the longer this goes without a commitment from a legit, still close to his prime type player saying yes to the Heat, the better the chances are for the Cavs.  But don’t count Riley out just yet. If he goes down, he’s going to go down swinging. But there may not be enough power (or salary cap space) in those punches to help him or save him.

With that in mind I would now put the Cavaliers chances of convincing James to return to Cleveland as a free agent at least at 60 percent and here’s why. They will offer him a max contract. There is an immediate chance to win, as well as an extended chance to win with the current roster. Also if James signs, the Cavs have the assets of cap space, young talent and future first round draft picks to change the roster if need be to bring in a third all-star player. Plus he’d be returning home, which would in turn make his wife happy. You know the old saying, “Happy Wife, Happy Life!”

James would also get the opportunity to finish what he started eleven years ago, when he was drafted first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers, and that was to bring the city of Cleveland a championship.  He also promised to “Light Cleveland Up Like The Las Vegas Strip”.  So it would only be fitting that if LeBron is indeed does return to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers, he announce it this week from Las Vegas!


For those asking me to handicap the LeBron James sweepstakes, I will, but I really don’t know. Only James does, just like in 2010.

LeBron James photo small 11-27-13

I will say this though, the fact that the Cavs, with a group that reportedly included Dan Gilbert, had a meeting with LeBron’s agent Rich Paul, is a good sign. That tells you that the fences have been mended to a degree between the two sides or the Cavs would have never even received a sit down with Paul to talk about LeBron’s future. Are things all hunky dory between Gilbert and James? No, and they may never be like they once were. But, business is business, and I’m sure the two can tolerate each other enough if it meant winning championships and making lots of money.

So with that in mind, I’ll put on my handicapping hat and give you my best guesses on where I think LeBron James could end up.

As far as the percentages of LeBron staying in Miami versus coming back to Cleveland or going to another team, right now I see it this way. Pat Riley and the Heat are still the front runners until “Riles” proves he can’t add the necessary players to Miami’s roster to make LeBron happy. So let’s put the Heat’s chances at 50 percent. As of now they’re still the leaders in the clubhouse. But if he does stay with Miami I expect his contract will be for only one or two years.

Kyrie Irving and Dan Gilbert ROY photo

The Cavs, with an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving, plus that young nucleus of high lottery picks, cap space and multiple future first round picks are in second place in my opinion. This young roster has to be enticing to LeBron especially with the addition of Andrew Wiggins, or knowing that David Griffin could take some of those young players and trade them for a proven All-Star like Kevin Love. Add in he could come back home to be closer to his family and his Akron roots, along with it being a great story that would help repair his image even more. All that plays in to me giving the Cavaliers about a 30 percent chance, which is a better percentage than they had in the recent draft lottery. That percentage goes up if none of the All-Star caliber free agents want to take less money to play in Miami, or if Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can’t agree on how to divide up the free agent money with their  salaries.

So how do I break up the remaining 20 percent that’s left? There are reportedly four other teams that have talked with LeBron’s agent Rich Paul in recent days; Suns, Lakers, Rockets and Mavs. I’m adding a wild card just in case in the L.A. Clippers. Let’s give them each a 4 percent chance of luring LeBron away from South Beach.

The Lakers, only if Mitch Kupchak can miraculously team up LeBron with Kobe and Carmelo Anthony and it is “Hollywood”.

The Rockets, if James would consider playing with James Harden and Dwight Howard with all three getting max contracts, but what would the rest of the team look like?

The Mavs, because Dirk Nowitzki took a pay cut to create cap space for LeBron and maybe one other All-Star caliber player.

The Suns, who were 14 games over .500 last year and failed to make the playoffs in the Western Conference by just one game. Phoenix does have a nice young group of players, but no All-Stars and they’d have to make some serious moves to get LeBron and maybe another top flight free agent.

And finally my wild card out of left field the Clippers, because LeBron’s best friend Chris Paul is on the team. Also they’re a playoff team with a coach he respects greatly in Doc Rivers who is now in charge of pretty much everything. If the league acts swiftly and jettisons Donalrd Sterling, the Clippers could appeal to LeBron, but they’d have to make some serious moves to acquire James.

So there you have my best guesstimate as of today on where “King James” could end up. Tomorrow it may be different, and then change again on Monday and every day after that until he signs. LeBron is truly the only one who knows which way he is leaning. I believe he will give Miami every chance to bolster its roster, so he can stay there for another year or two, but the clock is ticking. If “The Chosen One” doesn’t feel that the Heat have improved enough in free agency, he is going to choose the team that he believes has the best roster and gives him the best chance to win. And who knows, that just might be Cleveland! If so, they’ll have beaten long odds again to win the sweepstakes.