LeBron James Rumors: Rockets Unsure Adding Cavs Star in FA Would Improve Team

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 3: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets guards LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on February 3, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

When a team has the opportunity to add one of the best players in the world, most would do whatever it takes to make it happen, even if it means losing key pieces. 

Just look at what the Golden State Warriors did when they signed Kevin Durant two years ago.

However, there are reportedly some within the Houston Rockets organization who are not sure if LeBron James would fit with the team. Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins revealed on the Open Floor podcast (h/t SLAM's Ryne Nelson) that his Rockets sources revealed they aren't positive adding James is worth what they'd have to give up to get him:

"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?"

Not sure if LeBron James would make a team better? The same player who has gone to seven consecutive NBA Finals, spanning two different franchises? As far-fetched as it may seem, it is a valid concern.

After acquiring Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers last offseason, Houston put up the best record in the NBA during the regular season at 65-17. That is thanks in large part Mike D'Antoni's high-powered offensive scheme, which helped the team finish second to only Golden State in scoring. NBA MVP favorite James Harden led the league in scoring with a career-high 30.4 points per game while averaging 8.8 assists.

There's no question James can score with the best of them. The question here is can he fit in with a team that lives and dies by the three? The Rockets attempted a league-high 42.3 triples per game, also leading the league with 15.3 made treys per game. Shooting from deep that frequently and with success can make it tough for an opponent not named the Warriors to keep up.

Although nobody on the team reached the 40-percent plateau, Houston had seven players make at least 110 three-pointers this season. James, who has not been known as an elite three-point shooter, made 149 from beyond the arc this season, knocking them down at a 36.7-percent clip.

At least one member of the Rockets would welcome James with open arms: Chris Paul, one of James' best friends, LeBron Jr.'s godfather...and a Banana Boat crew member.

If James seriously considers Houston in free agency this summer, the Rockets will have to determine how much he is worth to them. Golden State had to give up Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Marreese Speights and more from a 73-win team to clear room for Durant. It wound up leading to a championship in Year 1 and has the Warriors in position to repeat.

Of course, Houston's postseason could go a long way in determining just how aggressively the team will pursue James this summer.


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