The NBA Finals are barely in the rearview mirror, but that hasn’t prevented LeBron James’ decision on his future team from capturing the imagination of the media and fans. Questions surrounding which team will provide James with the best chance to challenge the Warriors are dominating the headlines, which paved the way for Vice Sports’ Michael Pina to share his thoughts on where the 33-year-old star might land.
The Trail Blazers didn’t make Pina’s list of potential fits, but a familiar name did make an appearance in the article. In the section devoted to James’ fit in Los Angeles, Pina suggested that Damian Lillard would be an ideal candidate to play alongside “The King” and Paul George.
The first question is who should the third star be, and which teams are in a position to trade one? As far as fit goes, Damian Lillard is an ideal candidate. He can drill off-the-bounce threes at a high level, run uber-efficient pick-and-rolls, isolate, stretch the floor, and defend better than he gets credit for. But Lillard is too expensive on his current contract for the Lakers to afford him, George, and James in a practical way.
Lillard’s potential fit next to James is also implied in Pina’s section devoted to the 76ers. When breaking down Philadelphia’s chances, Pina suggests that a group of other teams would likely be more attractive if it wasn’t for cumbersome payroll complications.
If more teams had the financial means to afford LeBron without gutting their roster (like, say, the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, or Portland Trail Blazers), the Sixers wouldn’t be as attractive as they’re currently made out to be. But, to their credit, they’ve developed intriguing franchise pillars, with max cap space and a few tradable assets, at a time when just about nobody else can say the same. That’s good for them, but LeBron probably doesn’t want to babysit their core all year and then watch them struggle through growing pains in the postseason.
You can read Pina’s full article on James’ pending decision by visiting Vice Sports.