When LeBron James speculated last season about one day joining forces with Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, it seemed like just a fantasy. But recent events have created uncertain futures for three of the NBA’s four most famous friends.
Wade will miss the rest of the regular season after suffering a sprain and fracture in his right elbow on Wednesday. He left open a chance that he might return for the playoffs, but Chicago has fallen to 32-37 and two games out of the eighth spot in the East. Wade has a $23.8MM player option for next season, which might be tough to top on the open market, but if Wade opts out he may have already played his final game with the Bulls.
Paul is considered a sure thing to exercise his early termination option and forego a $24,268,960 salary for next season. At age 31, Paul will be seeking one last long-term contract to carry him through the end of his NBA career. Whether that deal comes from the Clippers could depend on L.A.’s playoff success. With Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick all headed to free agency, owner Steve Ballmer will have to decide if huge luxury tax payments are justified to keep the team together. Currently tied for fifth in the West, L.A. is likely to enter the postseason without home-court advantage.
The playoffs aren’t a concern in New York, where Anthony is toiling for the 12th best team in the East. He has been in a long-running feud with team president Phil Jackson and was the subject of trade rumors involving the Clippers, Cavaliers and Celtics prior to the deadline. Anthony is signed through next season, then has an early termination option for 2018/19. There’s a growing feeling that he might be willing to waive his no-trade clause this summer to join a contender and get away from Jackson.
That brings us to today’s question: Where do you think Wade, Paul and Anthony will be playing next season, and will they someday team up with LeBron before they all leave the NBA? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. We look forward to what you have to say.