The sports world is already buzzing about LeBron’s next move. Of course, that’s a year away. But the list of potential landing spots is growing. He’s still got another season in Cleveland, but the world of sports has already begun anticipating part two of the most entertaining story in the NBA. Where will LeBron James play when he can opt out of his contract? That’s a question that will loom over every one of the Cavs losses for the entirety of next year … and likely for the entirety of LeBron’s career. There’s no off switch when it comes to this speculation, and that’s why we’re offering our advice early. Sure, it seems like the easy decision could be sticking with his hometown team. But that may not be the best route to more championships. Maybe LeBron decides it’s time for young Kyree Irving to take over the city of Cleveland.
Maybe … just maybe … LeBron will realize that his stardom and prowess over the league can improve vastly if he were to pack his bags, and take his talents away from Ohio once again. There seems to be a lot of upside to that decision, especially since he’s lived up to his promise of bringing a championship to Cleveland. So with this list, we look at eight teams where LeBron should really consider playing because the benefits far outweigh the negativity he’ll foster through deciding to abandon the Cavs once again. Here are eight potential new teams for LeBron James, and eight benefits of playing there.
16 MILWAUKEE BUCKS
We begin the list with the one team on this list where it would be quite the stretch for LeBron James to sign. Unlike all of the other teams on this list, Milwaukee isn’t the type of sports market that attracts the talent and celebrity of a guy like LeBron. Milwaukee is a city with good sports bones, but it’s nothing like the teams in Boston, New York or Los Angeles.
A lot of talk has surrounded LeBron potentially moving to Los Angeles. Taking his talents to the West Coast for the first time could be a interesting changeup, but it’s tough to think the King wants to play at a time when most of his fans are asleep, given the fact that a majority of games out there start at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. But there’s still advantages to those teams, but we’ll get to those later. Here, we look at one of the East Coast competitors that really would be a great fit for James.
15 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN MILWAUKEE
At first glance, Milwaukee seems like a real disadvantage for LeBron James. The Bucks just don’t seem to foster an environment that would truly enhance the visibility of a superstar like LeBron. But that would actually be a blessing in disguise for a guy like James. There’s no one else in the NBA with the capability to do this, but LeBron is able to transform cities, and Milwaukee is poised to be the next bandwagon team for fans across the country.
Look at what LeBron did in Cleveland. Cleveland had a trio of sports teams that were failing in a city that didn’t attract many tourists. Now, Cleveland has grown to a championship city that fosters high-profile athletes in each sport (though the football franchise is still seeing its fair share of struggles). LeBron can bring Milwaukee sports to the next level, just as he did in Cleveland.
14 BOSTON CELTICS
Although this is one of the teams on the list that has been one of LeBron’s biggest competitors, Boston would be a great landing spot for James. No one in Boston would be against this move as James would surely wear the Celtics green proudly. With the addition of James, any team is Finals-bound. With the addition of James in Boston, the Celtics will be set for a championship win. Of course, that can be said be most of the teams on this list, but that’s why they’re all potential landing spots for LeBron.
James isn’t going anywhere that a championship ring isn’t a strong possibility. It’s largely expected that James will be competing in the Finals, and it’s obvious that he wants to win that Finals trophy every year … no matter what team he’s on.
13 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN BOSTON
Boston is staged for another great regular season next year. But this team won’t be able to compete deep into the postseason, no matter how well their draft and offseason acquisitions go. But the Celtics put themselves in a great position to bring on King James as LeBron plays at his best when he’s surrounded by a group of young talent. That’s when James truly shines as it gives him the ability to elevate the play of those around him.
Plus, the Celtics are already staged to lead the Eastern Conference in the regular season. Their draft is going to strengthen that ability, but there’s still going to be something missing. And that missing piece is the guy who’s been in the Finals for the last seven years.
12 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Because of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City is one of the NBA’s top basketball destinations. Previously known as the Seattle Supersonics, this franchise has quickly turned into a prevailing powherhouse. Who knows what the landscape of the NBA will look like by this time, but it’s a fair assumption to think that the Thunder will still just be a bit shy of a Finals-bound team … especially if Golden State can find ways to maintain all that talent.
The crazy thing is that it might be easiest for LeBron to get a championship if he considers moving to a team in the Western Conference. It may be a bit of a crazy thought, but one of the worst parts of the finals for LeBron could very well be the fact he has to play so late into the night. If he gets used to that time shift, he’ll be able to take on Golden State on an even ground.
11 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN OKLAHOMA CITY
The departure of Kevin Durant left a huge void needed to be filled in Oklahoma City. It’s likely that Russell Westbrook will remain on the team, and pairing him up with LeBron James is something that would shock and awe everyone around the league. The question is: Does LeBron care about being the primary star on a team? It may not be an option for him in 2018 if he wants to add another championship title to his growing list of accolades.
After another year of struggling through a late-season postseason run, LeBron should just let his ego take a bit of a break and move on to Oklahoma City. Westbrook is already one of the best individual talents in the league, and with James, this team could be unstoppable.
10 CHICAGO BULLS
It would be pretty cool to see LeBron James build a super team in the city where the former best player in the league used to call home. There’s no better way to prove he’s better than Michael Jordan than taking on the league in the same arena as Jordan. But no matter where LeBron goes, he’s been vocal about wanting to play with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. Although it might take too much for one team to get all of these guys in 2018, it’s not unlikely to think that a couple of these guys will be playing together in two years.
Chicago would be a great city to bring on two, or even possibly three of these guys. Plus, LeBron’s been playing in Jordan’s shadow his entire career, so it won’t be much of a shock putting on that jersey for the first time.
9 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN CHICAGO
Although the comparisons to Michael Jordan will get really old really quick, playing in Chicago has a lot of upside for LeBron. In fact, Chicago is one of just four teams in the Eastern Conference that James should truly consider as a landing spot for the future of his career, even if his next move is only part of a one-year contract signing. There’s only one team better in the Eastern Conference that LeBron should consider when it comes time to make his decision next year.
By this time next year, Chicago will be poised to bring on extra talent in a city that will be cringing for another championship. LeBron will get all the attention he can ask for in this sportscentric city, but he’ll have to decide if he still wants to deal with the brutal East Coast winters.
8 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
You’re crazy if you think there’s a going to be a list of potential new teams where LeBron might want to play without Golden State appearing. Golden State is, currently, the biggest challenge that LeBron faces in the NBA. Because of this, it seems like a pretty simple decision. Why not join up with the team that caused you the most issues. Look how well that mantra worked for Kevin Durant.
Now, this isn’t possible with Durant on the Warriors. But assuming he stays another season, he’ll be looking to pave his own path by 2018. That will leave a huge void in Golden State, and also create a great opportunity for LeBron to get some revenge on Durant for his decision to form a powerhouse with the Warriors.
7 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN GOLDEN STATE
No matter what happens by next year, Golden State will, without a doubt, have very talented players remaining on its roster. The only challenge in Golden State will be bringing on some younger talent to protect the future of the franchise. But no one will really care about that once LeBron James laces up with a Warriors jersey on. Regardless of who is, or isn’t around next year, LeBron will make this team as scary as they were last year because there’s just no way that the Warriors lose all of their talent that brought them their recent championship.
Plus, with Golden State’s recent success, the Warriors have become the team-to-watch on the West Coast. Although there are a couple of better options for LeBron out there, a player of his stature could do some huge things on a team like Golden State.
6 NEW YORK KNICKS
Among all of the teams on this list, these next three provide the biggest financial upsides for LeBron James on and off the court. Although these next three teams may not all have the ability to sign the talent needed to surround James for a championship run, each of them play in a city where LeBron should seriously consider moving his basketball career to. Sure, all of the teams that we already identified would be great landing spots. But these next three are the best.
The Knicks, along with the next two teams, are all overwhelmingly worthy of welcoming LeBron James to their court and offer the most value in return for his skill. LeBron shouldn’t really be making this decision based on his love for the game. It should be made based on business.
5 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN NEW YORK
Madison Square Garden. That’s almost the only thing you need to say when convincing someone to play for the Knicks. Sure, money and endorsements will probably be the same no matter which one of these final three teams LeBron chooses to sign with. But New York has the distinct advantage of being the most media-heavy team in the NBA.
Of course, in LeBron’s early years there were times after losses where he has absent from the mandatory press conferences. But those days are long gone. LeBron now uses the media to his advantage and with LeBron, that’s a huge advantage. For lesser players, this would be a detriment when they’re in a slump. But LeBron is an evolved form of the average NBA player, and more attention is a win-win scenario for King James.
4 LOS ANGELES LAKERS
When looking to Los Angeles, LeBron James seems like someone who would fit in perfectly. The market is huge. Celebrities are often in attendance. And he owns a house not too far away from the Staples Center. Maybe a move to L.A. has been long coming, we’ve just all failed to realize it. That’s why the top two teams on our list are both the teams out in Los Angeles. Either team would welcome the King of basketball with open arms. And they’d each become immediate championship contenders with this addition.
Although the Lakers have a better history than the Clippers, current struggles put them one spot behind the team they share an arena with. The Lakers aren’t far behind, but they’ll need to prove to be a bit better next season if they want LeBron’s attention.
3 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN LOS ANGELES
LeBron James would be a nice addition to the long list of names who are part of the Lakers storied past. The best part about this move would be the fact that it’s the quickest way to revitalize one of the biggest rivalries in sports. Not only would the Lakers/Clippers competition grow, the Lakers/Celtics rivalry would return to its true form. With LeBron out of the Eastern Conference, no team comes close to matching up with Boston’s level of talent.
That means you’ve got a Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics finals. That’s something that every fan of the NBA would love to see. It would be one of the most watched Finals in NBA history, and one that would continue for years to come if LeBron stuck with the Lakers for more than a couple of years.
2 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
From the perspective of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Clippers, there should be no better fit when getting ready for the 2018-2019 NBA season. This pairing tops our list for so many reasons, and none of them are because it’d be fun to watch LeBron take over the Western Conference just as he has done in the East since the start of his career. The Clippers have been a formidable team, but they become great with LeBron on the roster.
Although there can be some moves that would make this move tough (such as losing Chris Paul) there are just so many ways to make this possible. Especially since LeBron has already shown his love for this West Coast city. There is really no better fit.
1 BENEFITS OF PLAYING IN LOS ANGELES
All of the benefits of playing with the Lakers are similar here for LeBron. But the Clippers get the edge because of there current successes (not much but much better than the Lakers). Plus, with Chris Paul on the roster (if he manages to stay for another couple of years) the Clippers are one step ahead of everyone else in the league. Like we mentioned earlier, Paul is one of the three players (along with D-Wade and Carmelo Anthony) who LeBron has publicly stated he wants to play with.
Who knows if the Clippers could acquire those other two guys with LeBron and Paul, but that would be an interesting offseason to watch. In reality though, the Clippers would probably have to play without a bench to afford all four of those guys. But even with just Paul and James, this would be a fun team to watch.