The rumor mill has been buzzing and reports have been formulating and all signs point to LeBron James as curiosity springs towards his potential upcoming free agency.
There are several questions that we have to answer when it comes to analyzing the possibility of James becoming a Rocket.
Could the Rockets sign LeBron James?
Sam Amick of USA Today reported that the Rockets have potential to add LeBron in free agency this upcoming offseason.
The Rockets are currently holding the league’s best record at 20-4 and are seen as the team with the best chance to challenge the Golden State Warriors as the league’s best team. While we have only seen the teams play each other once this season, it is clear that Houston will not go away easy if the team faces Golden State in the playoffs.
Houston’s a definite contender, possibly stronger than Cleveland (19-8, No. 3 seed in East) and if the season ends in disappointment for the Cavaliers, LeBron might want to take the route that Kevin Durant took and sign with the best non-champion possible, which would point to him signing with the Rockets.
A lot will have to happen for the Rockets to bring him to Houston. Firstly, his banana boat buddy Chris Paul would have to take a pay cut, as he is also approaching free agency after the season. Also, Trevor Ariza would have to be let go in free agency. The longest-tenured Rocket outside of James Harden would have to be cut adrift.
The final pull would have to be trading one of the team’s heftier contracts, either Eric Gordon or Ryan Anderson. Gordon is the more talented player, and the Rockets would likely prefer to keep him, as Houston reportedly had him off limits in any Carmelo Anthony trade. Anderson was more likely to be traded and come offseason, it will likely be the same idea.
A lot of things would have to be put in motion, but the Rockets can sign LeBron if they desire.
Would the Rockets sign LeBron James?
Daryl Morey brought him in for a visit when he was courting teams during his 2014 free agency, the last time he was a true free agent. The Rockets have the mindset to do whatever it takes to win, and Houston has followed suit with that in the past few offseasons.
In 2013, the Rockets came out of nowhere to steal the league’s highest-profile free agent in Dwight Howard.
In 2015, after a Western Conference Finals appearance, the team took a chance on Ty Lawson, who averaged 15.2 points per game and 9.6 assists per game in his final season in Denver. Sure the Lawson experiment was a dud, but it showed yet again that the Rockets are willing to take the risks needed to take the next step.
And in 2017, the team traded seven players to bring Chris Paul to Houston. Even though the team severed ties with several rotation players including All-Defensive First Team Patrick Beverley and promising third-year player Sam Dekker, the team took the risk, and after 24 games, it looks like it is paying off. CP3 coming to Houston looks like it could shape up into being a step in the right direction for the Rockets.
If the Rockets needed LeBron to take another step, the team would take it in a heartbeat.
Should the Rockets sign LeBron James?
This is the toughest question of the three. Many people thought that the Rockets were crazy bringing two ball-dominant guards to work together and imagined that it would bring tension to the Rockets’ locker room.
It certainly has not, and CP3 expressed interest in wanting to play more off the ball as well. In fact, the Rockets only play both Harden and Paul together for about 18 minutes per game, so there is no real power struggle between the two of them.
LeBron is another player that thrives with the ball in his hands and looks to take over games single-handedly. With LeBron likely playing the three, there will likely be at least two of the Paul-Harden-James trio at all times. Big threes can be troublesome at times, especially with LeBron and CP3 turning 33 in the next six months.
Two is company, but three could be a crowd.
The Rockets struggled having Dwight Howard and Ty Lawson on the floor with James Harden. The Thunder are struggling now with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George attempting to coexist with Russell Westbrook. Big threes do not have a 100% success rate.
However, this is the King we are talking about.
If LeBron goes to Houston, he is coming here to win a championship. His only focus will be winning and coming to Houston will give him the greatest chance at a title he has ever had in his career, even more than his Miami Heat days. No matter who his teammates are, LeBron will find a way to make it work.
Now, this season is far from over. Houston does not just have a chance to challenge Golden State, but with the way the Rockets have been playing lately, the team has a chance to dethrone them as well. If the Rockets dethrone the Warriors en route to a championship this season, LeBron will likely not be on the team’s radar. Houston will look to retain the current guys that just won them a ring: Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Clint Capela, and Chris Paul.
It’s never too early to speculate, but it is too early to talk specifics. We are only in December, but July will be here before we know it, and it would be foolish to think that these ideas aren’t running through the Rockets minds.
The answer to this question is TBD and is dependent on where the team finishes in the scheme of the NBA. If the season ends sour and the Rockets fall to the Warriors, LeBron James should have a solid chance to become a Rocket.
Should the Rockets sign LeBron James?
This poll is closed
Yes, especially if they lose to Golden State.
No, even if they lose to Golden State.
Yes, even if they win the championship.
No, especially if they win the championship.