Chris Paul is set to join a loaded class of free agents on July 1, but most of the reports we have heard about his offseason plans indicate the star point guard plans to remain with the Houston Rockets.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Monday night that Paul has been committed to re-signing with the Rockets and will do so unless the team suddenly changes course on their financial commitment to him. Rather than worrying about his own contract, CP3 is reportedly dedicating all of his energy to recruiting LeBron James.
“You know, Chris is going to return there. Right now, his focus isn’t so much on his own free agency, he’s trying to recruit LeBron James to Houston,” Wojnarowski said, as transcribed by RealGM. “Somebody close to him said to me, ‘He is as focused on recruiting LeBron as anything he’s done in this league. He wants to find a way.’
“You know Daryl Morey in Houston is always big game hunting. They love the ability to make changes with their roster and cap, be creative. If LeBron said he wanted to come to Houston, they can find a way to make it happen.”
While he’ll undoubtedly keep trying to convince LeBron, a separate report indicated Paul believes his close friend is going to sign with another team.
The Rockets don’t necessarily need LeBron, and there have been some questions about how their offense would look with LeBron, CP3 and James Harden all on the floor. Mike D’Antoni would have to change some things to make that work. The most important factor for Houston next season could be Paul’s health, as we saw how much the team missed him when he went down in the playoffs.
One New York Knicks player is feeling quite optimistic about his team’s chances of landing LeBron James in free agency.
Center Enes Kanter is ready to recruit James to the Knicks, and he thinks the team has a real chance due to the stage they can provide.
“I’m trying,” Kanter said, via Mike Vorkunov of the Athletic. “I don’t want to say it’s possible, whatever, but I’m trying. Let’s give him a shot. Why not? Might just get him. Never know.
“I’m working, man. I need some help. I’m working on it. I think just because it’s New York. If he wins here he is the G.O.A.T. No question, he is the G.O.A.T. I think we have a good chance to get him, I guess.”
Kanter and James have some history, and the Turkish center openly challenged James to become “king of New York” by joining the team. Is it unlikely? Almost certainly, but Kanter is right. It can’t hurt to try.
It’s widely believed that LeBron James will hit free agency this summer and look for a situation where he can contend for an NBA title immediately. In the mind of Shaquille O’Neal, this would be a mistake.
Shaq said Friday that his own late career efforts to pick up as many rings as possible were misguided, and James should not do the same thing.
“My problem toward the end of my career was I was trying to shut everybody up and I was greedy,” Shaq said, via ESPN’s Ian Begley. “After I got to three [titles], everybody was saying I couldn’t get another. So I got four. After I got the fourth, they were saying I couldn’t get another one. So I was trying to make quick stops to get it. Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston.”
Shaq believes that James’s legacy is already secure, and going after more titles won’t add much to it.
“Somebody told me a long time ago — they said your book is already set. You can add index pages toward the end, but your book is already set. So LeBron’s book is already set,” Shaq said. “He done already passed up legends; he done already made his mark — he has three rings. His mentality now is probably: I want to get four before Steph [Curry] does. That’s probably his mentality now. But if I was him, I wouldn’t be trying to get four, five and six because it ain’t going to matter. It’s just something else to talk about, something else to add to the pages. He’s a legend, talked about as who is the best between he and Michael Jordan, so he’s set.”
It’s an interesting take from someone who certainly knows a thing or two about rings, legacies, and on-court rivalries. It doesn’t sound like James is going to be taking Shaq’s advice, as everything we’ve heard about potential destinations would indicate that James will be looking for situations where he’ll have the best shot at winning more titles.
LeBron James appears to be doing his due diligence when it comes to potential free agent destinations.
There was chatter on Twitter Friday that LeBron was in Houston looking at some private schools. Writer Ross Bolen, who is from Houston, said he was told that James was looking at schools in Houston.
Multiple sources feeding me chatter about LeBron touring private high schools in Houston today. Kinkaid and St. John’s have both been mentioned.
— Ross Bolen (@WRBolen) June 15, 2018
That led to some other chatter on Twitter about LeBron being in Houston.
Just got a call from one of my fellow imbibing ravens about Lebron being in Houston this morning. Said raven talked to a few people in the real estate industry. The Kinkaid School was mentioned.
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) June 15, 2018
James has the ability to opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and become a free agent. The Rockets are among the teams that make sense as a potential destination. Given that he has three children, it’s important for the family to know what schools are in the given areas.
There was a previous report about LeBron’s oldest son being committed to a high school in Los Angeles. The Lakers, Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are said to be among the teams he is considering as a free agent, although one report recently dinged Houston.
- LeBron James
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, and that appears to be what Earl Boykins is toeing with his theory on LeBron James’ free agency.
Appearing Wednesday on Altitude Sports’ “The Hastings & Browman Show,” the retired guard spoke on James’ potential destinations and gave a surprising contender for who he believes could be an option … the Denver Nuggets.
“He’s gonna look at Denver,” said Boykins. “He’s gonna talk to [Nuggets president of basketball operations] Tim [Connelly], and he’s gonna say ‘If I sign here, what moves are you gonna make? What’s gonna be left if I decide to sign here?’ The Nuggets have the young pieces that LeBron wants around him.
Boykins was then asked what percentage he would put Denver’s chances of landing The King at, to which he replied, “If they sign [Nikola] Jokic [to an extension], it goes up to 35, 40 percent.”
Earlier in the segment, Boykins also stated for some reason that James would “never, ever” play for the New York Knicks.
In any case, Boykins, now 42, himself played in the league from 1998 to 2012, including as a Cleveland Cavalier for two of those seasons. He is also a native of Cleveland and was one of the area’s biggest high school phenoms in the early part of the ’90s. However, Boykins may have some bias in hyping up the Nuggets here since he played for them for four seasons as well (his longest of any NBA team) and now coaches high school basketball in the Denver area.
As for the Nuggets, they have an interesting collection of under-25 players with big upside (such as Jokic, Gary Harris, and Jamal Murray) and playoff-tested veterans (like Paul Millsap, Wilson Chandler, and possibly James’ ex-Cavs teammate Richard Jefferson if he re-signs). The team came within just one game of a postseason berth this year and are reinventing themselves in more ways than one. However, as a Western Conference club that is probably another few years away (if ever) from realistically competing for a title, it’s pretty hard to see James making good on Boykins’ theory — to put it lightly.
It’s widely believed that the Philadelphia 76ers will pursue LeBron James this summer, and Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz would be eager to be part of the recruiting pitch if asked.
Wentz said Wednesday that he would “absolutely” be willing to help recruit James to Philadelphia.
— John Barchard (@JohnBarchard) June 13, 2018
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” Wentz said when asked if he’d like to be part of the recruiting pitch. “I hope he’s coming. You know, [Zach] Ertz and I were there the other night, and unfortunately he lost and everything. I didn’t really care who won in that game. But just seeing him live, we decided to make it a recruiting trip.”
No, Wentz and Ertz did not get the chance to make a preliminary pitch.
“We did not,” Wentz joked. “Hopefully he knows we were there.”
Basketball teams have used other athletes to try to recruit players. It hasn’t always worked, but it’s worth a try.
The Philadelphia 76ers are considered one of the favorites to sign LeBron James this summer because of the solid young core they have in place, but one of the greatest players in franchise history insists the fit is not a good one.
In an appearance on “The Mike Missanelli Show” on 97.5 The Fanatic Tuesday, Barkley emphatically stated that LeBron is not going to sign with the Sixers.
“He’s not coming to the Sixers,” the Hall of Famer said, as transcribed by Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “He’s not coming to the Sixers because he needs the ball, (Ben) Simmons needs the ball and (Joel) Embiid needs the ball. That would make Simmons useless.”
The “not enough basketballs to go around” argument seems to come up a lot with LeBron, and it should probably be noted that he’s one of the better passers in NBA. Still, Barkley feels that LeBron’s need to control the floor and have a team’s offense run through him would not work in Philly.
“He’s not going to give the ball up at this stage of his career,” Barkley said. “He’s not a great shooter, so you can’t play him off the ball. I guarantee you [defenders] would let him shoot threes all night. Guys would love him to shoot threes. … It would hurt Embiid and Simmons going forward.”
For what it’s worth, Barkley said he is not going to let LeBron “hijack my life” by sitting around all summer waiting to see which team he will choose next. Many people who claim they feel the same way will still be tuning in to find out the result.
If not having enough balls to go around ends up being the issue, that’s another reason we can rule out one Western Conference team everyone keeps linking LeBron to. LeBron’s decision will come down to what he wants at this point in his career. If championships are the only priority, it makes sense to remain in the Eastern Conference, where the path to the NBA Finals is much easier.