The Cleveland Cavaliers is where LeBron James belongs next season, according to NBA players.
Cleveland Cavaliers all-world phenomenon LeBron James is undoubtedly the face of the NBA. Despite his best efforts to stymie the conversation, the debate over his destination this summer rages on. The speculation won’t stop until James has a home for the 2018-19 season.
Considering every team with available cap space awaits their opportunity to court The King, his decision is of great interest to his peers. ESPN released their NBA player poll Monday, and a large portion of the questions centered around James.
His mere presence brings title expectations and a winning culture to an organization.
While the poll doesn’t gauge all players’ opinions, its 48 participants supply an excellent sample size. The results should be promising to all Cleveland Cavaliers fans. When asked where will James sign, 59 percent said Cleveland, with the Los Angeles Lakers coming in second at 22 percent.
Furthermore, when asked where should he sign, 66 percent said with the Wine and Gold.
Among other inquiries regarding James, the players were asked to name the reason James would leave. Not surprisingly, owner Dan Gilbert led the way with 29 percent of the vote.
It’s no secret James and Gilbert aren’t exactly the best of friends — but their working relationship has produced a title and three straight finals appearances.
Although Gilbert could be an issue, James is in the winning business. No other NBA owner would even consider a $300 million payroll, which is exactly what Gilbert faces if James returns. LeBron shouldn’t take the Quicken Loan founder’s blank check for granted.
Perhaps the most interesting question posed in the poll was which team James should not sign with. Shockingly, the Golden State Warriors finished second with 28 percent of the vote. The Philadelphia 76ers took the cake, with 31 percent of players polled voting against “The Process.”
Obviously, competitive reasons were cited for the Golden State vote — but what about the 76ers? Either players think James should stay away from Philadelphia if he wants to win, or they believe his teaming up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid would spell doom for the rest of the league (or at least the Eastern Conference).
It’s unquestionably the latter. A three-headed monster of James, Embiid, and Simmons is downright frightening.
While maintaining a competitive feel with the Warriors, the move would also give an aging James two budding superstars. The option of deferring to Embiid and Simmons has to appeal to the 33-year-old James. Currently, The King shows no signs of slowing down –but as the old adage goes, father time is undefeated.
Although, for all the promise Embiid and Simmons display, their injury-riddled history could rear its ugly head at any time. For that reason, James’ best option for his legacy is Cleveland.
The blank-check demeanor of the owner and hometown ties make the Cavaliers attractive. General manager Koby Altman’s deadline moves simply make the team even more attractive. The poll’s results are promising, but the incessant speculation is just beginning to heat up.