LeBron James is still focusing on trying to get the Cleveland Cavaliers back into the NBA Finals, but most basketball fans have already turned their focus to the offseason and have started talking about where King James will end up in the summer.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen fans in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Portland and Cleveland put up billboards around town in an attempt to try to persuade LeBron to sign with their team when the time comes, but now there’s a potential dark horse team in the running to land the four-time NBA MVP.
ESPN’s Chris Haynes recently joined The Athletic San Francisco editor-in-chief Tim Kawakami on his podcast and was asked where he thinks LeBron will land in the offseason. As expected, he listed the contenders that have been reported in the past such as the 76ers, Lakers and even the Houston Rockets, but he also added a new team to the list. Here’s the entire conversation, as transcribed by RealGM.
"I don't think it's anything serious to where he will actually think about signing there," said Chris Haynes of James and the Warriors during an appearance on Tim Kawakami's podcast. "I reported back, I believe in February, out of respect if Golden State showed interest, he would talk with them and have a conversation.
"He looks at that organization as the new era of the San Antonio Spurs. He respects them tremendously. I think that's what's going to happen if Golden State decides if they want to go in that route.
"I don't see him coming here at all."
Haynes was then asked which teams have the best odds of actually signing James.
"Houston has been linked a lot," said Haynes. "I've been told that's not a realistic option.
"Philly of course, that's legit.
"The Lakers are still in play but they're not as hot as it was before, but you're going to grant Magic Johnson a meeting. You're going to do that and listen. The Lakers have been setting up for two years for this summer.
"Then I'm going to throw out a dark horse, the Toronto Raptors. And let's not overlook the Boston Celtics. I think the Celtics are in that realm with Golden State where if Boston reached out and said 'We're serious', LeBron would listen."
The ESPN NBA reporter added the Toronto Raptors to his list of possible suitors for LeBron James and it’s not that far-fetched.
It’s a known fact that LeBron enjoys spending parts of his summer in Toronto and also happens to be really good friends with Drake, who he turned to for Dwyane Wade’s private birthday party back in January.
Although the Raptors are still in search of a head coach heading into the offseason, that might actually play into Toronto’s favour. Aside from LeBron’s love for the city and his friendships away from the court, TSN basketball analyst Jack Armstrong chimed in on how the Raptors could persuade LeBron to come to Toronto in the offseason last month on The Scott MacArthur Show.
“The Raptors now have a coaching vacancy. Let’s immediately appeal the NBA in terms of their stance on player-coaches and let’s go higher. LeBron James is our player-coach. I don’t think there’s a better candidate out there. The last one was Lenny Wilkens, Hall of Famer. Bill Russell, Hall of Famer. Dave DeBusschere was a player-coach. I would in a million years, there’s no better coaching candidate out there,’ said Armstrong.
“No disrespect to all these guys, but I would hire LeBron James and let him pick an all-star cast because he is the guy. I’m not trying to be funny, I’m telling you that’s the best candidate out there. Obviously it’ll never happen, but the point is that is what makes sense."
It’s a very interesting take, especially since basketball fans have joked for many years now that LeBron James is the one coaching all of his teams anyways, so you never know what can happen. Even though Haynes thinks there are other teams closer to signing him than the Raptors are, anything is possible.