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The Summer of LeBron has Begun

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LeBron is a free agent, which means the NBA summer will be dominated by speculation on where he’ll end up next year.

Everyone has a theory on where LeBron James will play next season. The real answer is no one knows. James shook up the basketball world once when he joined the Miami Heat only to set things right when he rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now, after delivering Cleveland it’s first and only championship in any sport, LeBron is stuck on a less-than-talented team that just got swept out of the Finals by the almighty Golden State Warriors.

With a quick exit of the Finals and back-to-back losses to a Warriors team that doesn’t look to be going anywhere, James has a decision to make. Does he stay on the Cavaliers and once again lead drag his team to the NBA Finals only to lose or does he leave and join a team with more firepower to throw at Golden State.

The decision comes down to his mindset and what he wants most out of the rest of his career. This choice will have a lot to do with his family, which James has already said would play a big role in his ultimate decision. But when looking at all of James’ options, only a few make sense but for very different reasons.

The choice he has to make can be broken down into three potential desired outcomes.

  • Rings
  • Legacy
  • Business

 

Rings:

If the King is concerned with chasing rings right now there are two destinations that make the most sense, Houston and Boston. The Houston Rockets were up on the Warriors 3-2 when they lost Chris Paul to a hamstring injury. Many people believe the Rockets would’ve been in the Finals if Paul were healthy.

Although the West is tougher to conquer, adding the King to a team with James Harden and CP3 would likely be enough to take down the champs. However, the Rockets would have to give up a couple of parts of their successful squad to do so, but adding LeBron would certainly make up for anything they would lose.

The Boston Celtics are another fit that makes sense if James is chasing a ring. The baby Celtics coached by Brad Stevens took LeBron and Co. to a hard-fought seven games before finally succumbing to the King’s will. But what they proved is that they have enough young talent and leadership on the sidelines to compete with the NBA’s best. Add LeBron to that mix in the Eastern Conference and the Celtics would easily make it back to the Finals with a legitimate chance to dethrone the Dubs.

 

Legacy:

This scenario is simple. If LeBron just wants to be a ruler who’s loved, then he stays put in Cleveland and does the best he can with what he’s got. That may mean dragging his team back to the Finals only to lose, but he’d be revered even more than he already is in Ohio and loyalty would end up being a huge part of his overall legacy.

 

Business:

The final scenario lands James in L.A. With all of LeBron’s business ventures, including producing and acting in Hollywood, it seems like the best place for him to be to continue to focus on his post-playing career would be Los Angeles.

James has a home in L.A., his son Bronny James has committed to Sierra Canyon High School to play basketball, and his business partner, Maverick Carter, has an office at Warner Brothers Studios.

It’s important to note LeBron and his businesses have been just fine with him in Miami and Cleveland but if he’s ready to kick things up a notch in that area, there’s no better place than tinseltown.

 

At the end of the day, no one really knows where LeBron will play next year; heck, even he may not know. But any decision he makes will come down to whether he wants more rings, to fortify his legacy, or to look beyond basketball to his career afterward.

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Grizz shopping No. 4 pick, Parsons, sources say

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The Memphis Grizzlies are in discussions with a number of teams to trade the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, league sources told ESPN. Any such trade would likely include forward Chandler Parsons, whose contract is considered an albatross because of his knee problems.

The Grizzlies have several potential trade partners, as the Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics and LA Clippers have shown varying degrees of interest in a deal, a source told ESPN.

According to sources, the Grizzlies don’t anticipate the most serious proposals to arrive until they are on the clock Thursday, shortly before 8 p.m. ET. While contingent deals can be made earlier, the Grizzlies and other teams might want to see which prospects are available at No. 4 before deciding on a deal.

In such a trade, the Grizzlies hope to move back a few spots rather than move out of the lottery altogether, sources told ESPN. The organization wants to add talent even as it potentially trades its biggest free-agent acquisition ever to get out from under the $49.2 million remaining on Parsons’ contract over the next two seasons.

Memphis might be able to trade back to No. 6 (owned by Orlando) or No. 7 (owned by Chicago) on draft night. Duke big man Wendell Carter Jr. is a favorite of the Memphis front office and especially the coaching staff, according to sources. He is currently projected to be selected within the top seven picks in the latest ESPN mock draft.

If Orlando is willing to include Evan Fournier in a trade for Parsons, that could facilitate a deal involving the No. 4 and No. 6 picks, but the Magic currently appear reluctant to do so, instead preferring to give up Bismack Biyombo.

Knicks coach David Fizdale met with Texas center Mohamed Bamba on Wednesday afternoon at the Grand Hyatt hotel in New York, sources told ESPN’s Ian Begley. Director of scouting Kristian Petesic was also present. It’s extremely unlikely Bamba would be available for the Knicks at their No. 9 pick, another indication New York has considered moving up via trade.

Knee soreness has led to Parsons playing in only 70 games since joining the Grizzlies in 2016. For Memphis, trading Parsons would potentially create significant salary-cap space in the summer of 2019, and only point guard Mike Conley is under a guaranteed contract for the 2020-21 season.

Still, due to NBA rules requiring matching salaries for teams over the salary cap, any trade Memphis makes on Thursday will need to bring back a contract or several contracts of significant size, at least for the 2018-19 season.

Via ESPN.com

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Report: Los Angeles Lakers acquire 39th overall pick in trade with Philadelphia 76ers

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The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired the 39th overall draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft from the Philadelphia 76ers, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaworski.

According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers will send the Chicago Bulls’ 2019 second-round pick and cash considerations to Philadelphia.

The Lakers now own picks 25, 39 and 47 heading into Thursday’s draft.

The Lakers acquired the 25th overall pick in the trade deadline deal that sent Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Channing Frye and Isaiah Thomas.

The Lakers’ own first round pick, No. 10 overall, belongs to the Sixers as a result of the 2012 trade that brought Steve Nash to Los Angeles.

Via NBA.com

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Report: New York Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn declines player option, becomes unrestricted free agent

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New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn will become an unrestricted free agent after declining his player option for the 2018-19 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday night.

In a reserve role, O’Quinn posted career highs in points (7.1), rebounds (4.5) and assists (2.1) last season while shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

O’Quinn’s decision to opt out does not necessarily mean his time with the Knicks is over. Depending on their draft and free agency decisions, the Knicks could still choose to re-sign him.

O’Quinn just completed his sixth NBA season, including three years with Orlando and three with New York.

Via NBA.com

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