The Banana Boat Crew
If you are a sports fan you know it. This is the time when if anyone had any doubt that the NBA was run by players this would have convinced even the biggest skeptic that the NBA is the league that is most at the mercy of the players than any of the major sports. In 2015 Chris Paul, Lebron James, Carmello Anthony and Dwayne Wade all took a vacation together. What a lot of people failed to realize is this was a common thing. For the most part these guys grew up playing AAU ball together so a vacation together, well this might be the 30thtime they have vacationed together. Now that the 1stround of the playoffs is officially over we may as well start talking about the offseason. This could be the year that these 4 get together.
Lebron, CP3 and Wade all will be unrestricted free agents this offseason and Mello has an early termination clause in his contract so he too could be a free agent. Now umm, it might be one of the oldest rosters in the NBA, Lebron 33, Mello 34, Wade 36 and CP3 the baby of the group is 32. It is different now than it was in the past, as athletes today take much better care of their bodies so players can play over a longer period of time. Lebron is still the best player in the game. This is a viable option that all fans would hate. All fans at least outside of the city that they would end up going to.
This seems to make sense this offseason, since they are getting older. Lebron just went to a game 7 in the first round of the playoffs and he doesn’t have the better team. Him being that good, is the only reason he moved to the 2ndround. Wade is in Miami, he tried joining Lebron with the Cavs this year and no that didn’t work out so back to Miami he went. For this reason, if it’s in the cards for these guys to do this, Cleveland isn’t the place it’s going to happen. Wade like Mello, was eliminated in the 1stround of the playoffs. A championship squad the Heat and OKC do not have. Mello is even in a more unique situation. While in his exit interview, he was asked to come off the bench next season if he stays with OKC. Mello is not cool with that and he has a no trade clause in his contract. He would have to opt into his contract and if he doesn’t he is an UFA. He has a dilemma, he isn’t the same player he was and if he opts in he will get 28 million guaranteed next year. Famous saying is Mello does like his money. Right now, it feels he is more likely to opt in to that $28 million and waive his no trade clause to go to the right team. He isn’t the player he was, and he catches a lot of shit, the credit I give him is how he handled Phil Jackson and the whole thing with the Knicks. That was a nightmare, he could have gone 100% asshole and put the Knicks on blast. Yes, there were some moments of frustration but he did not completely blow up and that’s saying something. CP3 seems like he may be the most unlikely to go. He may make the finals this year with the Houston Rockets. He is playing alongside one of the best players in the NBA in James Harden. He has a free-flowing offense that compliments a point guard in an open floor and spacing that offense likes to do. He is in the best situation. Although it is a possibility and since it is where would they end up?
Let’s look at some of the possible spots they may go to. First, we should rule out some easy ones. Cleveland, Miami, Philadelphia, Golden State; wait I better stop this will be a long list. I should speak to why not Cleveland, well I mean they are the team that is at almost -$39 million in practical cap space. They just would not have the funds to do it. Also, Wade was just there and it didn’t work out, Lebron hates Dan Gilbert. Shit did I say hate? That might be too kind. We can also rule out Miami again been there done that. I really only see 2 realistic options.
Houston Rockets- CP3 Is there already, he could sign a near max contract and stay. Houston could trade or renounce everyone but CP3 and Harden. That would free up the money to sign Lebron to a near max deal, he would have to take a pay cut. He could also do what CP3 did last year and walk into the front office and say I am out, I am signing in Houston if you want to try and work a sign and trade go for it. That would help both teams. Gives Houston more flexibility and Cavs get some assets. Getting Mello then would be the tough part. Houston may be lacking assets to trade for him but they have a shot. Wade would sign for the veteran mid-level exception and not only would they banana boat crew together but they would be with James Harden as well, an extremely unselfish superstar. Open floor style that Mike D’Antoni runs would be appealing. It’s possible just getting Mello would be the hard part.
Los Angeles Lakers – Lakers have the most money under the cap than any other team, and it isn’t even close, by like $20 million. They have almost $62 Million in open cap space, they may even have more. They could stretch Luol Deng’s contract, let Randle go and they would have just about enough for 3 max deals. James would get his, CP3 would get one, Mello would get close and Wade would get a veteran contract. This seems to the easiest of it all. It was the original landing spot that was going to happen and everyone has a house in LA. Say what you want about Lonzo Ball. He is one of the most unselfish young players in the league and doesn’t need to be the center of the conversation. Brandon Ingram also a nice young player.
To me these are the 2 most likely options. If they could find a way to make it work in Houston that would give them the best chance of winning. Having the 5thbanana boat mate be James Harden is a pretty solid fit. That team I believe with Harden would be the best to take out the Warriors. I mean KD, Steph, Thompson and Draymond Green vs Lebron, Wade, CP3 and Mello. That’s a hell of a game. I would give the edge to the warriors but not if you throw Harden in the banana boat and Javale McGee with the Warriors. On paper, I would take LBJ but the warriors would play better defense, win the hustle board and that might just be enough.
Either way I am interested to see what happens this offseason, warriors could trade Thompson and anyone else to get Lebron. That’s a possibility. Lakers could sign Lebron, Paul George and either Cousins or Deandre Jordan, both of those would be better than the banana boat crew but this is an NBA run by players and player movement. Let’s see what happens.
That’s all for now,