There’s “A Real Chance” LeBron James Joins The Rockets In 2018

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

According to NBA executives, 2018 could feature the second consecutive summer in which the Houston Rockets unexpectedly snag a future Hall of Famer to team up alongside their bearded superstar.

Don’t be surprised if LeBron James joins the Rockets a year after the team acquired Chris Paul.

From USA Today’s Sam Amick:

… there is strong belief in Rockets circles that they’ll have a legitimate shot at landing the four-time MVP this summer. Rival executives also believe the Rockets will have a real chance.

It’d be difficult to swing, but a dream trio of James Harden, Paul, and LeBron is actually doable. It’d require one or a combination of three scenarios: serious pay cuts taken by LeBron and Paul (splitting roughly $47 million in 2017-18 instead of a their max of $35.4 million each); trading one of Clint Capela or Eric Gordon, two hugely important keys to the team’s success this season; or trading for LeBron instead of signing him, either with his opting in to the final year of his contract (like Paul did in the offseason), or via a sign-and-trade after LeBron opts out.

Probably the most-suggested destination for LeBron, should he leave Cleveland, is the Los Angeles Lakers, in part because his business interests like the Uninterrupted platform and Springhill Entertainment are located in LA.

But LeBron’s partner in those ventures, Maverick Carter, insists that winning will be the biggest factor in his decision—which would probably rule the Lakers out.

“These days it doesn’t matter (where you play for business purposes), because you can be known and be a star from anywhere—anywhere in the world,” Carter said in a November interview with Rich Eisen. “I mean, could (James) sell a few more sneakers if he was in a gigantic market like Boston, Chicago, New York, or LA? Maybe. But not as much as if he wins. What matters the most is if he wins. When you win as an athlete, that matters the most.”

Houston has the best record in the NBA right now, at 21-4, and they haven’t lost with Paul in the lineup. If winning is really all he cares about, there’s a serious chance LeBron James joins the Rockets in the summer.