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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Brian Windhorst ‘cannot see’ LeBron James leaving Eastern Conference

LeBron James

Speculation continues to grow that LeBron James will leave the Cavaliers after the season, but the reporter who may know him best does not see many teams outside of Cleveland that make sense for the three-time NBA champion.

In an appearance on “Pardon the Interruption” on Thursday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst — who has basically been a LeBron reporter for the past 15 years — said he does not envision LeBron signing with the Lakers, Rockets or any other team in the Western Conference.

“I just cannot see him going to the Western Conference. I can’t see it,” Windhorst said. “Unless it’s just like, ‘I want to be happy and live in Los Angeles.’ If he and Paul George go to the Lakers — unless there’s some other move that I can’t see — and they’re competing with the Rockets and Warriors, they may win 47 games and be the fourth seed and then be (knocked) out in the second round. Maybe he wants to do that. … My gut says he still wants to compete for championships, so he’s got to stay East.”

LeBron is one of the best players the game has ever seen, but one of the main reasons he goes to the NBA Finals every single year is that the East is consistently weaker than the West. Even with all the moves the Cavs have made this year that haven’t worked out, they’re right back in the Eastern Conference Finals.

So if LeBron does leave the Cavs, it’ll probably be to sign with another team in the East. The one that keeps coming up is the 76ers, but Windhorst doesn’t think that makes sense, either.

“A lot of people default to Philadelphia, but I’m not sure that’s a great fit,” he said. “What you need with LeBron James is guys who can shoot. Ben Simmons cannot shoot. LeBron’s a ball-handler. Ben Simmons is a ball-handler. If LeBron came to the 76ers, Joel Embiid would be turned into Chris Bosh or turned into Kevin Love. He’d be told to stand in the corner and shoot threes. I’m not sure that’s what Joel Embiid wants.”

The Sixers could try to make another big move that might entice LeBron, but we can’t imagine the Cavs are just going to call it quits. If they can get something valuable for the No. 8 overall pick and maybe sign another player or two, there’s still a decent chance LeBron sticks around.

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