July 12, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; United States guard Chris Paul (13) and forward LeBron James (6) watch game action against the Dominican Republic in the second half at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing will dictate how the San Antonio Spurs fare in their bid for a repeat than the next Decision of LeBron James. Where do they not want him to land?
#5 – With Eric Bledsoe and Phoenix Suns
Most don’t expect this scenario to have any credibility but there is a very slight chance. The Phoenix Suns are loaded more than most teams with salary cap space. They could sign LeBron to his max level contract, re-sign star point guard Eric Bledsoe to his max deal and still have room left over for 2015. Meanwhile they are also packing multiple first round draft picks. The Suns would then instantly become short and long-term threats to the Spurs in the West.
#4 – With Kyrie Irving and Cleveland Cavaliers
By that same scenario, LeBron James could very well do what many have predicted and make his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. There he could pair with rising star Kyrie Irving and promising shooter Dion Waiters. On top of that the Cavs also own the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, which means if they were to get LeBron they would scoop up star Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins and suddenly have the makings of a new Big Three in Cleveland, one that is much younger than what the Miami Heat built.
#3 – With Derrick Rose and Chicago Bulls
LeBron has gotten to know all about the Chicago Bulls over the past few years. Few teams have given him more problems and played him tougher. If he were to flip sides and joined them the benefits would be telling. He’d have Derrick Rose returning healthy in the back court, All-NBA center Joakim Noah in the paint, defensive stud Taj Gibson and top notch coach Tom Thibodeau on the bench. The Bulls play a very similar style of team basketball to San Antonio and regularly field one of the best defenses in the league. Adding James to their offense alongside Rose would make them instant title favorites.
#2 – With Chris Paul and Los Angeles Clippers
As far as the San Antonio Spurs are concerned, they would much rather keep LeBron James in the Eastern Conference where he won’t see them as often. As most players would say over the years, the more a player sees a team, the better he plays against them over time. So it would not be great news if James were to join a team like the Los Angeles Clippers. He knows Doc Rivers as a coach, having played against his Boston Celtics for years and he also knows All-Star point guard Chris Paul from their time together at the two previous Summer Olympics. The familiarity is strong for him, never mind the allure of playing in L.A.
#1 – With James Harden and Houston Rockets
One thing that was proven for James during his success in Miami is he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade, who could take advantage and score points off of LeBron’s ability to fascilitate. If it’s a proven scorer that James is after, then he has to consider the Houston Rockets. Just pairing with James Harden by itself would be a boon, but throwing in Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons down low is icing on the cake. This is the scenario the San Antonio Spurs would least like to see. Houston is already a handful with the crew they have. Adding an MVP like James would make their hold on the West questionable, much less the NBA crown.