The Cavaliers are, almost assuredly, not going to win the NBA Finals. They face a 3-0 deficit, something no team has ever come back from in NBA postseason history, and to make matters worse they’re up against one of the best teams in NBA history in the Golden State Warriors. Whether the series ends on Friday night in Cleveland, Monday night in Oakland, or later, Cleveland is likely to have some soul searching to do.
The Warriors will, by all accounts, run it back next year with the same group after re-signing Kevin Durant and Steph Curry this offseason, which would mean that their Big 4 with Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green would be locked in through the 2018-19 season. That means opponents are going to need to get significantly better in order to compete with them for the next two titles. That’s a tough thing for Cleveland to do with how little cap space they will have to tweak their lineup and add more firepower to counter the Warriors.
Because of the uncertainty of how the Cavaliers can possibly make the necessary additions to beat Golden State, the rumors have already started about LeBron James potentially leaving next summer when he hits free agency. James will have fulfilled his promise to Cleveland by bringing them a championship, and could possibly feel as though his guilt for leaving the first time had been wiped clean and pursue other options for the final chapter of his career. Both Los Angeles clubs were floated as possibilities because of his status as an L.A. homeowner and because both could offer unique opportunities and entice James.
Those rumors are based on whispers from league sources, which ultimately mean nothing, but indicate that teams suddenly feel as though there is a non-zero chance that James at least entertains the idea of leaving Cleveland again in 2018. If James were to test the market and hold meetings, all 30 teams would line up at his doorstep for the opportunity to pitch arguably the greatest player of all time on why he should close his career with their franchise.
I’m here to offer a ranking, 30 to 1, of the likelihood LeBron James would choose that franchise for his final (or close to it) significant NBA contract.