The pending free agency of LeBron James is a storyline that will continue to last throughout the entire season with many wondering if this will be his last year with the Cleveland Cavaliers. There has been plenty of speculation about where he might go, but which teams actually have a legitimate shot and landing him? Here are the five most likely destinations.
5) New York Knicks
Admittedly, New York is only on here because they are, well, New York. If LeBron wants to compete for a championship, his best chance is to stay in the Eastern Conference, where we will continue to have a much easier path to the NBA Finals. He'd also get the chance to play alongside a budding superstar in Kristaps Porzingis in the league's biggest market.
4) Philadelphia 76ers
However, if James is going to team up with young stars, Philadelphia presents him with the best opportunity to do that and win. The 76ers are among the teams with the most cap space in 2018, meaning that they can give LeBron a max contract and still have plenty of room to add another quality piece or two to their current core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Markelle Fultz. James has not shown much interest in playing in Philly, but if his decision is strictly about winning championships, the Sixers should get serious consideration.
3) Houston Rockets
Now we get into the realm of serious contenders. Houston was already a candidate for James before adding Chris Paul - one of LeBron's best friends - and that has only added to their appeal for him. USA Today reported Houston has a real shot to land him because of their on-court success and the possibility of the "Banana Boat Crew" (James, Paul, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony) all playing together.
2) Cleveland Cavaliers
Many people believe that LeBron leaving Cleveland again is a foregone conclusion, but in all reality, they present the best opportunity for him to continue to win. The Cavs have a championship-caliber roster, play in a weaker conference, and are home for him. He's also seen how that fan base has turned on him when he left for Miami.
Of course, LeBron also feels like he's done his job for Cleveland by winning a championship - and we know he doesn't get along with owner Dan Gilbert. That is why they're No. 2 on this list.
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1) Los Angeles Lakers
Odds are that LeBron will end up in Los Angeles playing for the Lakers next season. Los Angeles also has enough cap space to sign two players to max contracts, allowing them to continue to strengthen their young roster with superstar talent. It's reportedly the "worst kept secret" in the NBA that he wants to join the Lakers. James already owns a home in Los Angeles, which is where he trains in the offseason, and his kids have also been enrolled in school there. The move would also allow him to get a head start on his post-playing career in Hollywood.