NBA Rumors: How Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul Could Join LeBron James With Cavaliers In 2018 [Opinion]

Mark J. TerrillAP Images

Never say never. With the NBA trade deadline quickly approaching and NBA Rumors in full swing, one team could be the benefactor of a friendship that has spanned over 10 years. While there are rumors of LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers after this season, he might be on the verge of joining another super team. In 2018, LeBron will not be the only player with an opt-out clause. Carmelo Anthony will have one and Chris Paul will be a free agent.

It’s no secret that the three of them have wanted to join forces since entering the league, and according to CBS Sports, Paul is open to the idea. It would seem that 2018 is the perfect opportunity to do so. With Paul playing with James Harden in Houston and Carmelo with Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, there’s no telling how their seasons will end. LeBron and the Cavaliers are favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference, but even that is not a guarantee.

For this to work, it will take a sacrifice by all players involved. The Cleveland Cavaliers have one of the highest payrolls in the NBA, but with a few tweaks, LeBron can welcome his closest friends with open arms. First order of business the Cavs must do is get rid of Tristan Thompson and his $16.4 million annual salary. Next up will be the J.R. Smith situation. Smith has done nothing to earn the $13.7 million he’s receiving and by trading Smith and Thompson, that will free up an extra $30 million. Also, Cleveland will have to let Isaiah Thomas walk at the end of the season. He’s a free agent after this year and will command top dollar in which the Cavs will not be able to pay.

With Smith, Thompson, and Thomas gone, the Cavs will have the necessary leverage to sign both Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Now, depending on how Dwyane Wade’s body feels after his 15th season, he can also re-sign for the vet minimum making the core complete. While many may snicker at this lineup, only Wade might be past his prime. LeBron is still regarded as the best player in the NBA, and Carmelo and Paul can still produce at a high rate. So, who’s to say this pairing cannot challenge the Golden State Warriors for NBA supremacy for another three years?