The NBA rumors surrounding LeBron James have taken a new turn, with reports that longtime friend Gregg Popovich will try to get involved in the offseason sweepstakes to land the NBA MVP.
LeBron has the chance to test free agency this summer, and there have been at least half a dozen teams suggested as possible destinations. The San Antonio Spurs had not been mentioned much, but Marc Stein of the New York Times suggests that Popovich may force his way into the proceedings.
Though most reports suggested the Los Angeles Lakers or Philadelphia 76ers as frontrunners if LeBron should choose to leave Cleveland, the Spurs could be a strong contender. LeBron has a longstanding relationship with the Spurs coach through the U.S. Men’s national basketball team and often has great things to say about Popovich.
“I love Coach Pop [Popovich], one of my favorite guys ever,” James said earlier this year, (via News 4 San Antonio) when he eclipsed the 30,000 point plateau against the Spurs. “Not only from the outside looking in on what he does with this franchise over the years, but given the opportunity to spend so much time with him over the course of being a part of USA basketball since ’04.”
As ESPN noted, there is growing uncertainty over what LeBron James will do this summer. The Cavaliers star has given no real indication of whether he plans to stay in Cleveland or test the free agency waters. The report noted that LeBron’s move to Miami in 2010 was all about getting an NBA title, and his return to Cleveland was a personal decision to cement his legacy and bring a championship back to his native Ohio.
This time, the roadmap isn’t so clear.
“James has his championships now. No matter what anyone says on the matter, he also believes his legacy is secure,” the report noted. “With the Cleveland Cavaliers losing in the Finals for the second straight year, the choices and options in front of him are complex. Put more simply, James might not see any option he truly likes at this point.”
The report noted that the options are a little more complicated than choosing to remain in Cleveland or test free agency. LeBron can also opt-in to his contract and then force a trade from the Cavaliers, which would allow him to keep his current contract’s no-trade clause. LeBron would then still have the option of signing a five-year extension worth more than $200 million.
Whatever he might choose, the NBA rumors surrounding LeBron James are only likely to continue growing as free agency approaches.