Lakers Free Agency: Houston Rockets hesitant on LeBron James

(Bill Baptist/Getty Images)
(Bill Baptist/Getty Images) /

A potential runner-up for professional basketball’s king is reportedly out of the picture in this summer’s free agency period.

Los Angeles Lakers free agency news could dominate headlines this summer. The Lakers are going to look to land max players this offseason and have their eyes set on some targets.

Two summers ago, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant switched franchises. In the process, the Warriors created a dynasty with the possibility of winning an endless amount of championships. Yes, they lost key pieces in Harrison Barnes, Mareese Speights, Andrew Bogut, and Leandro Barbosa. The sacrifice, however, was well worth it.

Unfortunately, it might not be the same with LeBron James and the Houston Rockets. Sure, he might not have the youth that Durant possesses, but his name is recognizable.

LeBron James continues to distress opposing defenses. Even in his fifteenth season, James’ play translated towards career-high ties across the statistical board. There are no signs of slowing down for the G.O.A.T. candidate.

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The question is if James would fit into the Rockets’ franchise. Per Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated (h/t Ryne Nelson), he questioned LeBron James’ place in Houston. He told Ben Golliver on the Open Floor SI NBA Podcast:

"“I asked a couple people in Houston about it, and there was sort of a look of, ‘Why would we break this up right now?’ Because they know everything they would have to give up. They know how many moves they would have to make. And would they be able to preserve the same level of shooting, the same level of defense? And this is people inside the organization. How much would they have to sacrifice of what they built as far as the way they play? Would they’d have to play significantly differently?”"

Rockets superstar guard Chris Paul would, on great terms, welcome LeBron James to the team. Both are incredibly close friends and is a member of his “banana boat.” Issues between Paul and James would be incredibly minuscule. His mindset with James Harden‘s, however, would set off team chemistry.

For another, James adds another “playmaker” into the Mike D’Antoni offensive sets, especially since most of the Italian offensive mastermind’s plays require only a ball-dominant guard with four spot-up wings. The Rockets’ postseason dreams and chances against the Warriors can indeed increase, but at what cost?

The Rockets must resign Clint Capela, Trevor Ariza, and underrated forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Houston received more help with buyouts from journeyman Gerald Green and Joe Johnson midseason.

D’Antoni’s system also requires “3&D” skillsets. That’s what makes Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker, and others so valuable to this system. This season, they ended up with the most efficient offense in NBA history. Adding a superstar like Paul George would certainly lead the team in the right direction.

Next: Los Angeles Lakers Ultimate Guide to 2018 Offseason

No matter what the decision is, Los Angeles management should be comforted that Daryl Morey’s analytical house, direct threat of theirs, is no longer in the LeBron James sweepstakes.