Now that LeBron has officially opted out of the last two years of his contract with the Miami Heat, lots of writers, bloggers, pundits, and other experts are talking about where he’s most likely to end up. However, I’m going to look at the situation from a different angle. Today, instead of listing the teams that could sign LeBron, I’m going to list the teams that don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.
Why? Well, for one thing, it’s a little bit easier to nail down possible landing spots once you definitely rule out as many teams as possible. So this is probably a more useful place to start when assessing LeBron’s free agency.
More importantly, though, I really enjoy crushing hopes and dreams. So if your team is on this list—HAHAHAHA!
So ready to see the list? Well okay then, here we go…
This one is really fun to think about. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James on the same team? And it’s not the Olympics? That would be awesome.
Unfortunately, it’s also batshit insane.
Don't get me wrong, the Lakers really want LeBron and they are going to try to get him. That's why I called this an honorable mention—because at least they're going to make an effort.
But come on, we all know Kobe would burst into flames at the mere thought of LeBron James coming in and being the man. And it’s not like Kobe is going anywhere. Despite being, like, 47, and injuring his achilles and knee in the last year, he signed a two-year extension worth $48.5 million back in November.
Also, while the Lakers do have plenty of cap space to work with, that’s because they also have very little talent beyond Kobe. (No offense to Swaggy P, but he did just opt out of his contract, too.) And the Miami Heat proved once again this year that one transcendent superstar isn’t enough to win a championship.
So while it might be awesome to think about LeBron wearing the same uniform as Wilt and Kareem and Magic and Wilt and Shaq and Kobe, it’s never going to happen.
Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron would look great in a Spurs uniforms, but to sign him the franchise would have to completely abandon the philosophy that’s won them five championships since 1999. Which would be stupid.
You see, the spurs win by playing a system, and by having 10 guys who are capable of making contributions within that system. LeBron could fit into that system, of course, but the Spurs wouldn’t have any money left for the rest of the guys. And given that they just won a championship, it’s insane to think they’re going to break up the band now.
9. San Antonio Spurs
The T-Wolves? Yeah right, keep dreaming Minnesota.
Don’t get me wrong, the T-Wolves aren’t a bad team and they have a promising future. But right now they can’t even make Kevin Love happy. How are they going to woo LeBron? With the promise of…not playing with Kevin Love? Don’t think so. The T-Wolves have some young talent, but without Love, LeBron could not expect to walk in an win a championship in the first year. And at the age of 29, that’s what LeBron wants—a team that can win immediately.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves
LeBron would actually make the Raptors an extremely good team. Unfortunately, the players the Raptors have now use up all their cap space, which would have to be cleared just for LeBron to go there. And then they wouldn’t be a good team.
Of course, even if that weren’t an issue, that fact that the Raptors play in a county with much higher taxes would be. Because aint nobody like paying taxes.
In fact, LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh all took pay cuts to play together in Miami, but those cuts were mitigated by the fact that Florida doesn’t have an income tax. In Toronto that advantage would be gone.
So no dice, Raptors fans. Sorry.
7. Toronto Raptors
Who wouldn’t love to see the NBA’s two best players on the same damn team? With Russell Westbrook? Nobody. If LeBron somehow joined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, they could just go ahead and apply to the city for parade permits immediately, because they’d be shoe-ins to win in it all.
Unfortunately, in terms of economics, no team is less likely to even think about LeBron than Oklahoma City Thunder. They couldn’t even keep James Harden because they were so worried about how much he was going to cost in two or three years, and they probably won’t even be able to keep both KD and Westbrook. So signing LeBron is an option for the Thunder like buying a yacht is an option for me.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Orlando Magic have plenty of cap space to work with. Unfortunately, their problem is that they are the Orlando Magic. Which is to say, they’re terrible. And if LeBron is going to not win championships in Florida, he’d rather just do it in Miami. Sure, the Magic have the No. 4 pick in the uber deep 2014 draft, so they should get someone who can make an impact. But that’s not going to be enough to make them a good team right away.
Plus—and I don’t mean to rub it in to Magic fans—but the team doesn’t exactly have a history of convincing star players to stay in Orlando, let along come to Orlando on purpose. So I just don’t see them convincing the greatest basketball player on the planet to go there.
5. Orlando Magic
Let’s just start with the obvious here: the Utah Jazz are not good at all. Granted, they won 25 games in the Western Conference this year, so they probably would have been a playoff team in the East. But they’re still not anywhere close to contending, and the No. 5 pick in the draft (whoever that is) isn’t going to change this right away.
Also, do you really think LeBron wants the Spurs, Clippers, Thunder, and Warriors standing in his way to the NBA Finals for the next few years? Yeah right. He’s far more likely to sign with any of those teams than he is to sign with any other team in the West. And that’s not very likely, so…
4. Utah Jazz
You know everything I just said about the Jazz? Ditto that for the Kings. DeMarcus Cousins is developing into a solid center who could anchor the team down the road, and the Kings do have the No. 8 pick in the draft. But that’s not nearly enough to lure LeBron to Sacramento. Even if LeBron’s arrival did make them contenders, LeBron isn’t going to go up against Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry just to reach the Finals. So no, LeBron is more likely to sign with the Los Angeles Kings than the Sacramento Kings.
3. Sacramento Kings
LeBron shafted his hometown on national television in 2010 because he wanted to go play with his two buddies who were also top-tier players. So let me just be blunt: why in the hell would he go play for the Philadelphia 76ers, who lost 26 games in a row last year? Because they’re going to draft Joel Embiid (or somebody else) with the No. 3 pick? Yeah right.
2. Philadelphia 76ers
Last and definitely least, we have the Milwaukee Bucks. They’ve got the second pick in the draft, which means they’ll get either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. (And hey, they’ve already got Mallory Edens!) But this was the worst team in the NBA last year. Signing LeBron won’t make them contenders, and that’s pretty much the only thing LeBron is looking for.
So go ahead and cancel the welcome party, Milwaukee. It aint gonna happen.