Where will King James take his talents to this fall? We asked 48 NBA pros to look into the crystal basketball for their free-agency predictions on LeBron, DeMarcus Cousins and more.
(Editor’s note: Not all athletes answered every question.)
Where will LeBron sign in the offseason?
Cavaliers: 59 percent
Lakers: 22 percent
Heat: 7 percent
Other: 12 percent
Others gaining votes: Grizzlies, Rockets, Sixers, “Not the Cavs”
“He won’t leave after all the moves they made last week.” — Eastern Conference forward
Where should LeBron sign in the offseason?
Cavaliers: 66 percent
Heat: 8 percent
Lakers: 8 percent
Other: 18 percent
Others gaining votes: Knicks, Rockets, Sixers, “No team in the West”
“Honestly, I’m hoping that he stays in Cleveland, just for that city. … But I would definitely understand if he left. It’s a business. You see how they did Blake [Griffin] after bringing him in during free agency, telling him all of this and all of that, and then they trade him away.” — Eastern Conference forward
Which coach do you think LeBron should pair up with?
Gregg Popovich: 46 percent
Tyronn Lue: 18 percent
Other: 36 percent
Others gaining votes: Brett Brown, Mike D’Antoni, Billy Donovan, David Fizdale, Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers, Erik Spoelstra, Luke Walton, “LeBron coaches himself anyway”
“I think LeBron should be a player-coach.” — Eastern Conference center
Which player do you think LeBron should pair up with?
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 12 percent
Chris Paul: 12 percent
Dwyane Wade: 12 percent
Paul George: 9 percent
James Harden: 9 percent
Kawhi Leonard: 9 percent
Other: 37 percent
Others gaining votes: Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook
“The duo of LeBron and Harden would be unstoppable.” — Eastern Conference forward
Which rumored team should LeBron NOT sign with?
Sixers: 31 percent
Warriors: 28 percent
Lakers: 16 percent
Rockets: 16 percent
Other: 9 percent
Others gaining votes: Clippers, Spurs, Wizards
“LeBron is a competitor. He’s the type of guy who comes in and lays his hat on the line every night. If he went to Golden State, that would cut his competitive edge out. It would take something away from the type of player that he really is.” — Western Conference center
Do you think the Ball family in L.A. is a deterrent for LeBron signing with the Lakers?
Yes: 11 percent
No: 89 percent
“If LeBron comes to L.A., then it’s the LeBron show. Not the Ball show.” — Eastern Conference center
If LeBron does leave, what do you think would be the main reason why?
Dan Gilbert: 29 percent
The roster is too weak to beat the Warriors: 27 percent
Not enough branding opportunity: 10 percent
Other: 34 percent
Others gaining votes: Looking for something new; trying to win a championship; he’s too old; legacy; looking for a more lucrative contract; “He’s done all he can do in Cleveland;” “I mean, it’s Cleveland.”
“If LeBron were to leave, it would have to be for way more money — like if a team could figure out a way to give him a $300 million contract.” — Eastern Conference guard
True or false: DeMarcus Cousins will be in New Orleans on opening night 2018.
True: 80 percent
False: 20 percent
“I hope he’ll be back!” — Western Conference guard
OKC’s opening-night lineup will include:
Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony: 45 percent
Westbrook, Anthony and Paul George: 24 percent
Westbrook: 22 percent
Westbrook and George: 9 percent
“George will be in L.A. in two years anyway.” — Eastern Conference forward
Should there be max contracts in the NBA?
Yes: 59 percent
No: 41 percent
“LeBron, Steph and KD, all those guys bring a lot more than what they’re getting paid. … But being a lower-tier salary guy myself, if you pay those guys even more, the lower guys on the totem pole don’t really get anything.” — Western Conference guard
Which team have you heard makes the best free-agent pitches?
Celtics: 27 percent
Heat: 15 percent
Lakers: 12 percent
Warriors: 9 percent
Other: 37 percent
Others gaining votes: Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Knicks, Mavericks, Pacers, Rockets, Spurs, Wizards
“Boston [has the best]. If you bring Tom Brady? That’s pretty damn cool.” — Eastern Conference guard
Reporting by Ian Begley, Anna Katherine Clemmons, Hallie Grossman, Sean Hurd, Tim MacMahon, Doug Mittler, Anthony Olivieri, Mike Wells and Michael C. Wright.