After a slow start to the season, the Cavaliers have gotten hot, winning 14 of their last 15 games to vault into third in the East, mere percentage points behind the Raptors for the two spot. LeBron James is playing some of the best basketball of his career (or the best if you believe ex-Cavs GM David Griffin) and appears to be happy with his current position with his good buddy Dwyane Wade along for the ride.
Despite the Cavs’ strong start and James becoming apparently happy and comfortable with this year’s version of the team, rumors and speculation about his impending free agency decision are heating up. The Lakers remain at the forefront of discussions when it comes to which team James could leave for, especially after he recently purchased a new home in the L.A. area. While the Lakers are hopeful they can pry James away from Cleveland, it’s clear they will have some stiff competition.
The top challenger to the Cavs for James’ services might not be the Lakers, but the Rockets, who have quickly emerged as one of the league’s best teams and have something few other teams have — one of James’ best friends. Chris Paul is a member of the famed Banana Boat crew, and with family being an ever-important aspect of LeBron’s life, having one of his closest friends alongside would certainly make a transition easier.
Aside from the CP3 connection, there are very real basketball reasons to go to Houston. With Paul and Harden, the Rockets’ offense has been dynamic, and the defense has been surprisingly strong. Houston balances having a ball-movement-focused attack with leaning on their dominant superstar in isolation in critical situations, and adding LeBron to that mix would only make them even more formidable and bring them neck and neck with the Warriors in the West.