Should LeBron James Join the Pacers?

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

In the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the Indiana Pacers gave LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers all that they could handle. While the Cavaliers won the series in seven games, Indiana had their chances to win the series and send LeBron home early. With that in mind, it is worth asking whether or not James should consider joining the Pacers should he leave Cleveland at the end of the postseason.

More Talented Roster

One of the biggest reasons for LeBron to join the Pacers at the end of the season would be the fact that the team boasts a more talented roster than the Cavaliers. One of the major reasons for this is Victor Oladipo, who was dominant for the majority of the series against Cleveland. Oladipo’s performance in Game 6 of the series especially struck fear into the hearts of the Cavaliers, who needed to rely on another legendary LeBron James performance in a Game 7 to advance. Oladipo averaged over 22 points per game in the round one defeat.

[Pacers training staff to assist Team LeBron at 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend]

Instead of needing to drag the Cavs to series wins the way he currently has to, James on the Pacers would give him a viable co-star. He would not need to score over 33 points per game like he did in the Pacers series. Oladipo clearly has the work ethic to be one of the best players in the NBA. More importantly, he appears to have the talent to go with it. Seeing the best player in the NBA join forces with this up and coming star would be a treat for the league.

Outside of Oladipo, there would be plenty of other pieces for King James to work with as well. Myles Turner and James running pick and rolls together would be a huge upgrade over James’ current partner for those plays in Tristan Thompson. And while the Pacers would have to get a lot of work done to make the salary cap situation work out in an already fragile offseason, doing so would carry an unbelievable reward.

Better Organization

There is no secret that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers organization have not always seen eye to eye on things. James is the kind of player who has demanded control from the Cleveland front office due to the perceived incompetence of owner Dan Gilbert. If James were to join the Pacers, he would no longer have to worry about organization incompetence and could focus on winning basketball games the way he won the series against the Pacers.

While he has had great success in Cleveland, LeBron James has lacked a lot of the organization help he has deserved. Sure, he can hit a buzzer beater to bail the team out in a pinch. But going from a team run by Dan Gilbert with Koby Altman as your general manager and Ty Lue as your coach to a better situation is almost inevitable. Indiana’s combination of GM Chad Buchanan and coach Nate McMillan would be a massive upgrade.

A New Challenge

It is clear that, if nothing else, LeBron James is always up for a challenge. He proved this by going back to Cleveland after all of the success he found in Miami. Now, he is on a team that is in massive salary cap trouble and virtually unable to land new players via free agency in the summer. Logically, taking on another new challenge rather than staying in Cleveland would be the best decision for him.

The performance of the Cavaliers in the NBA Playoffs will be key in deciding what LeBron James does with his future. Before the start of Cleveland’s second-round series with the Toronto Raptors in May 2018, Bet way had James’ odds of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals at +160. In a rare underdog role in the postseason, this could be a decisive series for the career of James. A convincing series win by Toronto could send him packing, while any other result could lead to him staying in the city near and dear to his heart.

No matter what happens in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Raptors, LeBron James has a big decision to make when the offseason finally does start for him. He would be a great fit with the young core of the Indiana Pacers, who should do everything in their power to sign him and become a true contender once again.

One Response to Should LeBron James Join the Pacers?
  1. Mike Schmidt
    May 3, 2018 | 3:02 pm

    Wow. He’s been our thorn for so long. I’m not sure how to feel about that. It would be like MJ coming to the Pacers.

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