The King has Left the Building
By Justin Parham
Proclaimed by many as the“King”, LeBron James will leave Cleveland after the 2017-2018 season.
The Cavaliers should be preparing their glass slippers for one last dance with James, because even a championship won’t keep him in Cleveland.
The chances of the Cavs resigning their favorite son is slim to none.
The rocky relationship with team owner Dan Gilbert no doubt made his decision to return to Cleveland a difficult one.
However, James decided to put his feelings aside to bring a championship to his hometown as he promised.
The future once looked bright for the Cavs franchise. With King James and Kyrie Irving, Cleveland was the perennial favorite to make the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference.
Irving sent shockwaves through the organization, however, when he demanded a trade last summer.
Now, with Irving thriving in Boston with the Celtics, Cleveland has struggled and isn’t even the best team in the Eastern Conference. In fact, the Cavaliers currently sit third and are 5.5 games back of Irving and Boston.
With James on a mission to be regarded as the best basketball player to ever play the game, he has to win now.
In order to be considered the greatest of all time, James must catch or surpass Michael Jordan and his six NBA championships.
James has been to the NBA Finals eight times, including reaching the championship round every year for the past seven seasons.
This will be the first year since 2011 that James will not reach the NBA Finals.
Yes, you read that right. James will not be in the NBA Finals this year.
Despite the Cavaliers’ attempt to surround James with younger talent through a flurry of trades at this year’s trade deadline, the team is not very good.
James knows NBA legacies are defined mostly by winning. That’s why he chose to go to Miami prior to the 2010-11 season.
Miami gave James the best opportunity to win a championship, and it allowed him to team up with his close friend, Dwyane Wade.
Now, with another shot at free agency, James will use a similar strategy to determine his fate.
Near every NBA team will try to woo James and acquire his services this summer. However, only a few teams have a real shot at turning over the keys to their palace.
Los Angeles might prove a dream destination for James, who recently purchased a second home in the Los Angeles area. James also has a flare for Hollywood, as he’s been prominently featured in TV shows and movies, like the 2015 film “Trainwreck.”
At the trade deadline, the Lakers cleared enough cap space thanks, ironically, to a deal with Cleveland to potentially sign two players on max contracts.
The Houston Rockets could be his next destination, because his pal from the banana boat, Chris Paul, is there. The Big Three of James, Paul and James Harden would instantly scare the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers and Rockets present a significant threat to Cleveland keeping James around past this season, but what other teams could swoop in?
The Philadelphia Eagles just won a Super Bowl, so are the 76ers next like Joel Embiid implied? James could complete “The Process” with help from Embiid and Rookie of the Year contender Ben Simmons.
If James decides to take his talents to San Antonio, he could rival the NFL’s Tom Brady by starting his own reality TV series “James Versus Time.”
Gregg Popovich is the master of getting the most out of his players, even when they’re considered “over the hill” in terms of age.
James, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and two local YMCA guys teamed up with the prowess of Popovich’s coaching would make the Spurs a bonafide title contender.
Regardless of where James decides to go, he’s still regarded as the best player in the NBA — and every team wants a shot at landing the King.
But believe this: James will not be playing home games next year at Quicken Loans Arena.