Clippers and Rockets to pursue LeBron James if he becomes free agent?
LeBron James might never hit free agency – he won’t talk about his plan other than to say he’ll discuss it with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – but he still has suitors readying themselves.
And that doesn’t even include the rational teams.
Yes, they’re interested in LeBron too, even if they don’t telegraph it in such obvious ways.
Bill Simmons of Grantland:
FYI: it's easy for Clips to make a LeBron run. Trade Deandre + Jamal to teams with cap space (easy), then use 1st rounder to dump Dudley $— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 18, 2014
Also - if you don't think the Clips are exploring that game plan, you are nuts. Clips, Cavs + Rockets are LeBron's suitors if he gets antsy.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 18, 2014
Simmons most often analyzes news reported by others, but occasionally, he breaks news. It’s not exactly clear which he’s doing here.
Does he have specific information about the Clippers’ and Rockets’ plans? Simmons has connections in both organizations, so that’s definitely possible.
Or is he just speculating based on available information, including LeBron’s friendship with Chris Paul and fondness for Los Angeles and Daryl Morey’s unrepentant pursuit of roster upgrades over continuity. Every team in at least a somewhat desirable market should be plotting how to land LeBron if given an opportunity.
If you’re looking for a clue to Simmons’ knowledge of the Rockets’ and Clippers’ intentions, his Clippers plan doesn’t even come close to working.
If they trade DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley and their first-round pick without any salary returning, the Clippers would have just $6,566,562 in space below the projected salary cap. Considering, LeBron’s max starting salary is projected to be $20,659,633, that wouldn’t come close to cutting it.
Simmons doesn’t specify what Darren Collison, Glen Davis and Danny Granger – who each have player options – will do, but even if they all opt out, the Clippers would have just $9,574,848 in cap space. Again, that won’t get LeBron.
Heck, even if they trim their roster to only Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers couldn’t offer LeBron his max contract.
I bet the Clippers and Rockets want LeBron and would chase him if he terminates his contract. But getting him to leave the Heat will be a huge challenge.
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