Is Lebron Coming to a City Near You?
If Lebron joins the Sixers this offseason, that would not only be his worst career move to date, but he would also fail to win a championship for the third straight year. So why is it that the basketball world is so convinced Philadelphia is the most desirable spot for The King? Ben Simmons is the simple answer.
Simmons and James have a meaningful friendship that dates back to June of 2015, when Simmons attended the Nike Basketball Academy and showed his ability against NBA stars like James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Anthony Davis. James was impressed by the rising star’s ability and let him know that he had the potential to be an all-time great.
Regardless of talent, think of what a mental advantage Simmons has after hearing that from one of the best players in NBA history. The potential Rookie of the Year displayed this confidence in his first year of play as he led the Sixers to the second round of the playoffs after watching his team struggle to a 28-54 record in the previous year.
Although Simmons was on the bench for the entirety of 2017, he probably didn’t have high hopes coming into his first active year after watching another signature Sixers season.
But, let’s get back to Simmons’ and James’ relationship as many believe it will play a major role in James’ decision. The main reason I believe it won’t, is because all one has to do it simply look at the two stars’ playstyle. They are basically the same player.
It is well known that James loves to drive to the hoop and needs shooters to kick it out too, which is the same role Simmons played for Philadelphia this season. The only difference between the two, is that Simmons has not developed his shooting skills as much as he needs to, which makes the duo even more incompatible.
If the Sixers hope to sign Lebron, they would likely have to let go of Simmons. There is simply no way that in today’s NBA, where shooting is the ultimate asset, the Sixers could succeed with two drive-heavy stars. It would ultimately result in Simmons getting less touches.
Also, people are quick to forget that the NBA’s 2017 #1 pick provided not only an unfortunate and disappointing season, but also one of the most interesting flops of all time. Although Markelle Fultz was sidelined by injury for some time, he spent the majority of the season trying to find his shot, which was nowhere to be found.
The Sixers approach to this situation should be an interesting storyline this summer, because he provides little value in potential trades, and remains an uncertainty this upcoming season.
While it is possible that Philadelphia could trade Simmons for another star, preferably a sharp-shooter, I don’t believe that would provide long-term success. Yes, James is coming off another historic season and seems to be at the top of his game, but one must remember his career simply cannot last much longer.
This is due in large part to his age, but also to the fact that James has not had a full summer of rest since his second year in the league. He has made the playoffs 13 straight years, and the NBA Finals the last eight years.
Considering the lengthy two-month span that is the NBA Playoffs, and his eight consecutive Finals appearances, he has missed out on about 16 months of rest that other NBA players have had and taken advantage of. Not to mention his appearances on the USA National Team, performing in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympics, restricting him from even more time to rest.
The Sixers should place Simmons’ potential and age over the talent that James possesses currently. Were the Sixers to make the trade anyway, they would be putting all their focus on to winning a championship this coming season, which I don’t think they would, instead of potentially winning multiple in the near future.
Not only would this be a bad move for Lebron, but it would also be a bad move for the Sixers, as immediate success would occur as a result, but would unlikely win them a championship. There success would be especially short-lived as the NBA has more and more super teams forming, and the end of James’ career soon approaching.
Now, on to New York.
I’m sorry to burst Enes Kanter’s bubble, but it’s just not happening. Many reference James’ desire to be in the spotlight, and how attractive New York would be as a place to live, but people need to realize Lebron is focused on one thing: winning more championships, that much is obvious.
To think that James would choose New York for the bright lights is just not a feasible idea. And while it’s clear that The King loves the attention he gets, he already has had that with his own TV show, LebronCenter which aires on ESPN, so there is no need to move to New York for that.
When actually considering on-court factors, the Knicks just don’t have the fire power right now to attract “that kid from Akron.” Sure, Kristaps Porzingis has proven himself to be an exceptional player, and Tim Hardaway Jr. is a skilled baller, but there is no considerable talent on the Knicks’ roster other than that. Frank Ntilikina has great potential and may produce a break out year, but James can’t base his decision on a possibility.
He needs a team that fits his playstyle, has already proven their worth, and is not in terrible financial condition. The Knicks fit none of these categories, especially considering the laughable contracts that Kanter and Joakim Noah possess right now.
If you were wondering where I think Lebron should land, I would argue that the Rockets are the best bet for him. If James stays in the East and does not join the Celtics, I don’t believe he will make it to the Finals.
After witnessing the incredible heart and respectable talent of the Celtics’ playoff roster, plus a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward this coming year, I put the Celtics as a more reliable bet to reach the Finals than the Warriors.
Were Lebron to land in Houston, he would be joining the only team that posed a threat to Golden State all year, and a team that likely would have beaten the Dubs in the Western Conference Finals had Chris Paul stayed healthy.
While I firmly believe that Philadelphia and New York are out of the picture, it will nevertheless be a memorable NBA offseason.