LeBron James would put the Houston Rockets on top of the NBA

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 09: LeBron James /

The Houston Rockets have flirted with the idea of signing LeBron James in free agency. Whether realistic or not, James would undoubtedly make the Rockets legit championship contenders.

When the NBA offseason started, rumors involving LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers began to overwhelm the NBA world. There were whispers about James possibly going to the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and even the New York Knicks. However, while we all thought “LeBron talk” would halt as the season began, that has failed to be true. Now the Houston Rockets have emerged as a contender to sign him.

…and that got me thinking:

“Man, that would be scary.”

Rockets general manager, Daryl Morey, has been very aggressive while attempting to compete with the Golden State Warriors. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, LeBron James is in Houston’s sights, and they will pursue him this upcoming offseason.

"ESPN’s Zach Lowe: They are underdogs, maybe big ones, but Morey has long promised that he will go for it if he thinks Houston has even a 5 percent chance of winning a ring. He will hunt likely LeBron this summer, per league sources, and hopes to sign Paul to another long-term deal. With Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza headed toward free agency, just bringing this group back could vault Houston well into the luxury tax. Tilman Fertitta, the team’s new owner, has said he would pay the tax to preserve a contender."

Morey won’t just go after LeBron but he’ll be attempting to re-sign Chris Paul to a long-term deal as well. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta seems as aggressive as Morey, stating that he’ll pay into the league’s punitive luxury tax to keep the Rocket’s core together.

At 25-6, the Houston Rockets sit atop the Western Conference. Throughout their last 10 games, Houston is 8-2 and playing tremendous basketball. Sorted by offensive and defensive ratings, the Rockets have the top-ranked offense in the NBA, and the 6th-ranked defense.

MVP-candidate James Harden is having the best season of his career. Harden is averaging 31.9 points, 9.0 assists, and 5.1 rebounds, while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and a career-high 39.7 percent from three (Editor’s note: averages don’t include Harden’s outing against the Clippers on December 22nd, 2017). He’s coming off an incredible 51 point, 8 assist game against the Los Angeles Clippers just after having a 51 point, 9 assist explosion against the Los Angeles Lakers. While you could argue who is having the better MVP campaign, LeBron or Harden, you can’t argue that both of these players are amongst the best in the league at what they do.

Harden’s newest teammate, 9-time All-Star Chris Paul, is also having a career year. Paul is putting up 17.1 points, 9.0 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field 40.8 percent from three-point range. The dynamic duo of Harden and Paul have proved to be one of the best in all of the league. Not only have they molded easier and faster than what anybody expected, but they are practically unbeatable.

When Paul has played (16 games), the Houston Rockets have only lost one game.

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In addition to the dynamic duo of Paul and Harden, the Rockets have more compelling pieces to add to their dominance: Eric Gordon, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate; Clint Capela, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate; Ryan Anderson, who’s making 39.3 percent of his threes; P.J. Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza, three stout perimeter defenders

To add on, not only does Houston have a slew of high-level players who have contributed to the Rockets’ 25-6 start but they also have a great coach in Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni captured the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award last year (along with Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat) and has done an incredible job with his squad this year. Many people argue that LeBron has never played for an elite NBA coach. This could be his chance.

So far this season, the Houston Rockets are likely the biggest threats to the seemingly unstoppable Golden State Warriors. What better way to increase that threat than signing the best player in the world in James. Pairing up the two leading MVP candidates in LeBron and Harden with CP3 in the mix would be very intriguing. Add in great complimentary players and an elite coach and signing LeBron could very well put the Houston Rockets above the Warriors as the best team in all of the NBA.

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