Sound the alarms, because four days before the NBA season, we just got a new narrative to follow all year.
Preeminent NBA writer Zach Lowe, in his annual NBA crazy predictions column, predicts that LeBron James leaves Cleveland in the offseason, and the only team he mentions as a serious threat, other than the oft-discussed Lakers, are the Houston Rockets.
Maybe we should take the Houston threat more seriously. Harden is locked up. Paul is there. Getting off Eric Gordon is easy. Snag a pick in the process, and dumping the Ryan Anderson albatross -- the one that cost them the official Team Banana Boat photographer -- becomes feasible. Trade and renounce everyone else, including potentially Paul for cap purposes, and they are close enough to the double-max for Paul and LeBron that the Texas income tax edge might come into play.
Sound crazy? So did everything that happened this summer. The league's best players have the clout to make anything happen.
(I have no idea where LeBron is going. Nobody does.)
Chris Paul’s future promises to still weigh heavily in the day-to-day conversation around the team. Does he look happy? How are his numbers? Can the Rockets afford to bring him back and Trevor Ariza?
The possibility of LeBron shifts everything. He is the single-biggest center of gravity in the league, and everything operates in his orbit. If LeBron to Houston is a serious possibility, and it looks like it is...
Mentions chance of LeBron to Rockets next summer, a possibility I've heard hopeful whispers about in Houston. https://t.co/1zisYNhZv2— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 13, 2017
... then everything changes. CP3 and LeBron want to play with each other, they even said it themselves. Dwyane Wade is apparently a low-money guy now, so there’s no reason he couldn’t join any team those two are on. If LeBron wants to play with these guys in Houston, then Houston should want this to happen.
LeBron has been to seven straight NBA Finals. The last time the Rockets were in the Finals, many of you people hadn’t even been born! Harden and Paul are excellent, Hall-of-Fame-level players, but they have not showed themselves to be good enough to lift a team to the Finals. They have been playing in the West, and LeBron the inferior East, but history tends to (mostly) forget such things.
Losing Eric Gordon would hurt, but such is the cost of competing for NBA championships. The Cavs traded Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love, and some of their fans might not have approved of the move, but when a basketball genius tells you what he needs to win, it is imperative to listen. LeBron and Morey pairing up their genius team-building abilities makes me salivate.
So get ready for what has the makings of an all-time Rockets team. Next summer is when things could get really interesting.