The NBA Finals may come to an end on Friday when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Warriors for Game 4, with Golden State holding a 3-0 lead in the series.
Whether it’s then or some time next week when the series comes to a close, the Cavs will suddenly shift gears to focus on their very important offseason that will determine the fate of the franchise for the near future. The first decision to make is what to do with the No. 8 overall pick in the NBA Draft on June 21, whether that’s using it to take a player or dealing it in an effort to land more veteran help.
That decision will be influenced by what they expect to happen on July 1 when LeBron James hits free agency for the first time in earnest since he returned to Cleveland in 2014. There has been plenty of speculation on what James will be looking for and what teams he will have interest in, but until meetings begin to happen and, really, an agreement is in place, no one knows what he’s going to do.
That doesn’t mean we can’t try to make educated guesses and talk to those that have been close with LeBron to try and glean some idea of what his mindset might be this summer. Chris Bosh was once a part of a LeBron free agency decision, when he, LeBron, and Dwyane Wade teamed up in Miami in 2010. Bosh thinks we’ll see a similar situation unfold this summer with LeBron, with the former All-Star teammate of James saying his guess is that LeBron ends up with the Rockets next year.
Bosh compares next season to the new Avengers movie if that happens, with both teams having “100 superheroes” fighting each other out West. It’s an apt comparison and it would be fascinating to watch, but as has been noted many times, the idea of LeBron signing in Houston is a lot easier to work out than the actual act of, you know, creating the cap space to do so.
In any scenario, he and Chris Paul have to take pay cuts. The best case is they find a way to pretty much unload the entire roster aside from Harden and Paul’s cap hold and go from there, but that involves finding teams willing to take on contracts like Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and others without taking anything of real value back in return which is nearly impossible.
Because Paul’s cap hold will be $35 million, it would require them to move both Gordon and Anderson ($33 million) for nothing to actually create anything close to a decent contract for James, and even then they might be at $16 million or so. The logisitics of it all are a nightmare and while everyone likes to note that Morey is a genius and if anyone’s capable of it it’s him, I have my doubts both Paul and James would be willing to take the requisite pay cuts to make it work.