RUMOR: Rockets don’t know if adding LeBron James would make team better
Put LeBron James on almost any NBA team with their current roster and they could probably make the playoffs. That’s what everyone says about James, anyways, as he’s seemingly continued to get better as his NBA career has progressed into his 15th season.
Whether it may be the Phoenix Suns or the Golden State Warriors, James would instantly provide teams with another lethal weapon. Apparently, the Houston Rockets don’t seem to think so. According to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, who was appearing on the Open Floor Podcast, the Rockets would be reluctant to break up what they have going right now in order to get the three-time NBA Champion and three-time Finals MVP. As transcribed by Bleacher Report’s Kyle Newport:
“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?”
The Rockets have a good thing going for them, but not willing to bring on the best player in the NBA and arguably the greatest of all-time might be one of the most absurd statements in recent memory. Sure, Houston won a franchise-record 65 games this season behind stars Chris Paul and James Harden. Their supporting cast of Eric Gordon as well as three solid wing-defenders in Luc Mbah a Moute, P.J. Tucker, and Trevor Ariza have made Houston a legitimate two-way threat.
James, however, is having maybe his greatest statistical season of his 15 year career… in year 15! He’s averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per game on 54.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc. In this postseason alone, there have been seven games of at least 40 points, five rebounds, and five assists. LeBron James has four of them so he clearly is at the peak of his game right now.
What makes this statement even more questionable is that over the last couple of seasons, James has found success in systems where he’s surrounded by three-point shooters. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think James, who also happens to be a career-34.4 percent three-point shooter, would fit fairly well with a team that finished their most recent season knocking down a league-high 15.3 three-pointers per game while also attempting a league-high 42.3 triples per game. Heck, James’ Cavaliers finished the season third in the NBA in three-pointers made at 12.1 per game and fifth in attempted three-pointers with 32.1 per game.
This summer will be the summer of LeBron James and The Decision Part III. In the 2010 ‘Decision’, he opted to leave Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and the Miami Heat, where he won two NBA Championships and appeared in four NBA Finals. He returned home in 2014 in what was called ‘ The Decision Part II,’ and won arguably the most meaningful championship in NBA history to a city that had never previously won one.
What will James do this summer? A lot of that will depend on how far his Cavaliers make it this postseason as well as how other teams’ rosters shape up heading into free agency.