The prediction that Lebron James will leave Cleveland in search of a better chance to win championships is not a novel idea. So where will he go? Here are the most likely scenarios:
1. Golden State Warriors. I’m sure the idea of Lebron joining the Warriors something a lot of people don’t want. Lebron wants to win, and joining the Warriors would ensure that. To make it work, the Warriors would have to clear cap space, as Lebron’s salary for 2018-2019 was on the books for $35 mil. I’ve seen articles that suggest Klay Thompson would get traded, but I don’t think so. Trading Draymond and Iguodala, at $17.5 and $16 mil, is close enough to Lebron’s salary, and is the most likely scenario.
2. Portland Trail Blazers. Lebron to the Blazers is a bit more complicated in terms of moving enough $ out of Portand to make it work. If the Trail Blazers can move Evan Turner ($17 mil), Meyers Leonard ($10 mil), and Al-Farouq Aminu ($7 mil), they will have moved enough salary to sign Lebron.
3. Philadelphia 76ers. For this to happen, the 76ers would have to let J.J. Redick and his $23 mil salary leave. Redick has been a valuable contributor to the Sixers success in 2017-18, and losing/replacing his production (i.e. Belinelli, Fultz) won’t be easy. But the combo of Embiid, Simmons, and Lebron would essentially guarantee more Finals appearances for Lebron, as that trio would be tough to beat in the East.
4.Houston Rockets. If the Rockets can move Ryan Anderson ($20mil) and P.J. Tucker ($8 mil) salary without taking any salary back, and if Chris Paul and Lebron are willing to take ~$30 mil, instead of $35 mil each, then this can work. However, trading Anderson and not taking any salary back is unlikely.
Based on the relative ease of being able to move Draymond and Iguodala, I think Lebron is a lock to join the Warriors next year. Let’s see if I’m right!