We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com.
Is it really true that LeBron James will leave the Cavaliers next season for the Lakers? — Greg Dizon
Nobody knows the answer for sure, except for maybe LeBron and a few members of his inner circle. What we do know is that these rumors started shortly after the NBA Finals, and James hasn’t made a public statement to quash them. We also know that James was a strong supporter of former GM David Griffin and was upset that he wasn’t retained. And we’ve seen reports that James was disappointed by the team’s offseason moves, which amounted to re-signing Kyle Korver and adding Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon and Cedi Osman. Add in any lingering bitterness toward owner Dan Gilbert from their parting in 2011 and the feeling that James accomplished his mission when he brought the 2016 championship to Cleveland, and it’s easy to see why he might be on the move again. It may depend on what the Cavs do this season, or it may be a decision that has already been made.
Aside from the Lakers, where else could you potentially see LeBron in 2018-2019 if he leaves the Cavs? — Vijay Cruz
It’s hard to find another scenario that seems plausible, unless LeBron and his banana boat friends are all plotting to end up in the same place. Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade will both be free agents next summer (and maybe earlier for Wade if a rumored buyout happens in Chicago), while Carmelo Anthony has an early termination option. If Anthony winds up in Houston with Paul, the Rockets could emerge as a possible contender. An online betting site has already posted odds about LeBron’s next decision, listing the Cavs as favorites to keep him, followed closely by the Lakers. The Rockets and Spurs are tied at fourth, with the Celtics a surprising choice at third.
What’s happening with Giannis Antetokounmpo and EuroBasket? Why do NBA teams let their players risk injury in these international tournaments? — Ellis K., via Twitter
Antetokounmpo announced Saturday on social media that a knee injury will keep him out of this year’s competition and cited a failed physical administered by team doctors from Milwaukee. The Greek basketball federation is disputing the results of the physical and accusing the Bucks of using deception to prevent Antetokounmpo from playing. Greece’s fortunes rely on Antetokounmpo, who would probably be the best player in the tournament, but because he’s under contract to the Bucks, there’s little the national team can do. As to why teams let players participate, there’s a lot of nationalistic pride at stake in these competitions, so it would create rifts with international players to try to block them. Plus, players tend to play all summer anyway, so it’s safer to have them do it in an organized format with trainers and team doctors than on pick-up courts.