LeBron James' upcoming free agency is one of many storylines to watch this coming summer. With the ability to opt out of the final year of his three-year deal, the four-time NBA MVP will enter the summer of 2018 as the hottest commodity on the market at the age of 33.
The ongoing recruitment frenzy and billboard war among the cities expected to pursue James only reflects his immense value even at this stage of his NBA career. Right now, there are actually five teams believed to have a legitimate shot at the superstar: the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dave McMenamin, who has been ESPN's beat writer for James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for quite some time, joined the Dwight & Aaron Show on RIP City Radio 620 to discuss the free agency buzz surrounding King James and somehow shed some light on which is the real frontrunner in the LeBron sweepstakes.
Although the NBA scribe stressed that everyone – including himself - is still clueless about LeBron's next destination, he really thinks the free-agency race will boil down to these two teams: the Lakers and Sixers.
McMenamin believes the Sixers' recruitment pitch for James will be centered on their promising young core consisting of former No.1 picks Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons and once-in-generation big man Joel Embiid.
The Lakers, on the other hand, will have an equally appealing selling point as they also have a group of talented young talents in place, featuring Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and possibly blossoming forward Julius Randle. Los Angeles can also give James another max-level free-agent to play with and the big-market opportunity to grow his business and brand.
Check out McMenamin's take on LeBron's free agency on the podcast below:It's been a while since the Lakers acquired a legit NBA superstar in free agency. It's true that the purple-and-gold made some blockbuster trades that helped them acquire Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and many others All-Stars before, but they haven't hit the free agency jackpot since luring Shaquille O'Neal out of Disneyland in 1996.
The same can be said with the Sixers, whose last enigmatic superstar goes by the name of Allen Iverson. There's no denying the superstar potentials of Embiid and Simmons, but the reality is this young team needs a leader to speed up their development and contend for a championship at this stage of their careers.
The Sixers and the Lakers believe LeBron is the missing piece to their championship puzzle, and as what McMenamin thinks, both of these franchises have real shot at landing the greatest prize in basketball this summer.