Rockets Becoming Contenders For LeBron James?

Houston should be added to the list of possible destinations for LeBron James, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Rockets insiders possess “strong belief” that they’ll have a chance to land James in free agency, Amick writes, and several rival executives share that opinion.

James is expected to opt out of a salary of more than $35.6MM next summer and hit the open market once again. The Cavaliers star and four-time MVP tops our latest Free Agent Power Rankings.

The Lakers have been prominently mentioned as a landing spot if he decides to leave Cleveland, and the Sixers recently emerged as a possibility. Both teams are filled with young talent and cap flexibility, but Amick says James wants to keep winning and Houston offers a far better chance.

The Rockets, off to a league-best 19-4 start, feature an MVP candidate in James Harden and one of James’ best friends in Chris Paul. The team is known for its productive offense and has risen into the top five in defensive rating this season. GM Daryl Morey has an affinity for chasing stars, and new owner Tilmann Fertitta, who paid a record $2.2 billion for the team in September, would no doubt endorse the pursuit of James.

The tricky part for Houston is freeing up enough cap space to make a max offer. With the cap projected at $101MM for 2018/19, the Rockets already have more than $78MM in guaranteed salary, not counting the cost of re-signing Paul, whose Bird rights the team owns, or restricted free agent center Clint Capela.

Morey has displayed creativity with the cap in the past, and Amick suggests he probably has deals lined up involving Ryan Anderson [$20,421,546 salary next season] and others in case the chance to sign James arises. Amick adds that Paul might agree to take less than the max, similar to what Kevin Durant did with the Warriors last summer, to help bring James to Houston.

Rumors about James’ next move began shortly after the NBA Finals, but he doesn’t plan to consider his options until this season is done. If the Rockets keep their place among the league’s elite, their chances to land James in July may be as good as anyone’s.

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22 thoughts on “Rockets Becoming Contenders For LeBron James?

  1. Connorsoxfan

    Move Anderson, QO but don’t sign Capela to keep him cheap, have Paul take take a 1 yr plus a player option deal, and have him and James work out who takes what, with James getting the long term deal and Paul taking a 1+1 before getting resigned using bird rights.

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  2. bennyg

    Tipping Wade would follow suit too. Seeing James, Paul, Wade and Melo are all (banana boat) besties.
    Get Wade on Vet min deal, CP3 will sign for a little under less he could get anywhere else and Bron for $24m. Trade Anderson and sign Capela for like a $10-12m deal

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    • x%sure

      Only about 1 of those 5 things have any chance of happening (Paul). Houston signing James is just people yapping.

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      • Thomas Swanson

        No need to get too excited until summer. Lebron won’t tell anyone squat until he’s ready. We had an idea he was going to Miami, but weren’t sure. We didn’t expect him to come back. I’m sure him and Wade go out for dinner often talking about who they want to play with.

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  3. all in ad

    Dream on! Cavs owner gives him a stake in the team…..he goes nowhere.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      LeBron wants to own Cavs. I can see that.
      To make it work I see: Cavs have to sign Melo and CP3 first, followed by LeBron, Wade, and Green. I think they’d have to acquire Noel too.
      For Rockets: they’d have to sign Melo, LeBron, and Wade first followed by Ariza, Capela, and CP3.
      That’s a lot of money. Wade could decide to go back to Miami.
      CP3 is union president, LeBron is vice. they’d find a way to get LeBron part ownership. Gilbert is worth $5.5 billion. He can afford it.

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  4. neworleanstaints

    Didn’t he just buy an additional property in LA? So now he has 2 LA houses, correct? I’d be surprised if he went to the Lakers but hey, you never know. Wearing the Lakers’ jersey is kinda like suiting up for the Yankees/Red Sox/Cowboys/Steelers/Canadiens, etc. They are one of the iconic NBA franchises (with Celtics). And he can’t go to Boston lol.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      He won’t get a championship in L.A. He likes to play with veterans, and makes management trade all the young guys. He’d be telling Magic to trade everyone and bring in his buddies.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Lonzo is going to break all of Magics records and have his jersey right next to Magics. Can’t let him go. Wrong!

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    • reds0x4life

      He bought a new house but i believe he sold or will be selling the first one he had (the one that got vandalized), at least thats what i read.

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  5. Pihc123

    Cavs have a bad start with all those injuries and the media goes nuts that James is leaving Cleveland. Cleveland wins 13 straight and the media is dead quiet. Cavs lose one close game and the media is back at it again. James won’t tell until July if he’s staying or going. Honestly all this talk is silly. After the Cavs win it all again this year he’ll ask and get top dollar only.

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  6. joemoes

    I just don’t see how the rockets make it work financially. I almost think it would be easier to get the banana boat crew to Cleveland

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  7. Thomas Swanson

    Whoever is willing to outspend the Warriors wins. The Rockets have a new owner. Philadelphia and the Lakers would have to spend a lot of money acquiring veterans and I don’t see it. Carmelo was willing to come to Cleveland before going to OKC. LeBron telling former GM Dave Griffin he wanted CP3 is what got him in hot water with Kyrie. Cavs can do a lot others can’t. How much is Rockets new owner willing to spend?

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  8. Brown Trout Fisherman

    As long as Sixers don’t take him I don’t care

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  9. bowserhound

    The Banana Boat crew should be called the ‘almost too old to ball’ crew. If LeBron goes anywhere it’s really only a 2-3 year rental of his last prime years. The rest have much less to offer.

    The Lakers are barely getting out of the Kobe shadow, I don’t think they will want another one so soon.

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