The NBA offseason is heating up and free agency is set to open on July 1. LeBron James is the headline name this offseason and quite a few teams are gearing up to make a run at him. While other teams will try to convince him to sign with them, it sounds likely that James will end up re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as he is trying to recruit other stars to join him.
According to the latest free agency predictions from Bleacher Report, James will stay in Cleveland and the Cavaliers will acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs to join him.
“With it seemingly clear Leonard won’t allow the relationship with the Spurs to be fixed, look for him to elbow his way to Cleveland and a returning James as the Cavaliers undergo one last transformation around James.”
Leonard teaming up with James would give Cleveland a good chance to compete with the Golden State Warriors. Cleveland was simply unable to beat the Warriors last season in the NBA Finals due to the lack of a second star alongside James.
San Antonio has made it clear that they have no plans at this point in time to trade Leonard to another Western Conference team. They have also made it publicly known that they would still like to convince their franchise player to remain in town long-term. Unfortunately for the Spurs, Leonard has shown no interest in changing his mind.
James has been rumored to be heading out of Cleveland all offseason long. He has been connected often to the Los Angeles Lakers, while other teams like the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers have been considered legitimate contenders to sign him. There is still a chance he could leave Cleveland, but if the Cavaliers can acquire Leonard, it would be very unlikely that he would sign with any other team.
Cleveland desperately needed a No. 2 scorer behind James last season, but they also needed a lockdown defender. Leonard would be capable of guarding stars like Kevin Durant next season, which would take a huge load off of James’ shoulders.
Whether the two sides can find a trade that works for both parties or not is the question. Cleveland could potentially make Kevin Love available and they have young trade chips like Jordan Clarkson that could interest the Spurs.
Expect to hear plenty of rumors this offseason connecting Leonard and James. It is obvious that Cleveland will do everything in their power to keep James in town and acquiring Leonard would certainly be a move in that direction.