• The most recent LeBron James rumors place him in Houston. But Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharp can't see him lining up alongside James Harden.
By Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver
December 15, 2017

In the latest Open Floor Podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver address the latest LeBron James rumors, focusing on talk about his possible move to the Rockets to join James Harden and Chris Paul. 

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Andrew Sharp: What do you think Ben about LeBron and the Rockets? 

Ben Golliver: I wrote earlier this season during the midst of the October Cavaliers struggles that I thought LeBron should target a new strategy for his free agency next year. I thought he should look for organizations that have better struggle, that have more alignment between ownership, GM, star player and coach. And to me, the two teams that really jumped off the page as possible destinations, if we take Golden State out and we take Boston out, are San Antonio and Houston. And with Houston, I think he would fit that system very well. There is no doubt about it.

Remember, Houston is still operating on Harden's terms. He's the supermax guy, everything is built around him. Chris Paul had to adjust to Harden, not the other way around. Mike D'Antoni has fully empowered Harden. The last shot of the game the ball's going to be in Harden's hands. I don't think LeBron is capable of being a No. 2 at this point of his career, in any way. And I don't think Harden is capable of being a No. 2 and really sacrificing, in any way.

Now, maybe if they lose a heartbreaking Game 7 to the Warriors this year somehow everyone will decide we have to do it and swallow our pride. I just have a really hard time seeing that. Harden's usage and role is so big. I think you would get into some of the fighting over the ball that we haven't seen between Chris Paul and James Harden thus far. I think it would be unavoidable with LeBron and Harden. At the same time, I would love to see it. It would be amazing and their offensive ceiling would be super, duper high, but it's more of a question of ego, pecking order and if they would be able to pull that off and massage it. I have serious questions about that. 

Sharp: That's interesting. I'm surprised by your level of concern. I should clarify my opinion on the Rockets after the last few podcasts. Objectively speaking...

Golliver: You hate them. You think they're a joke, a gimmick. I think you called them arena league, Big 12 football, a few different things here. 

Sharp: I've called them the arena league of the NBA. Look, objectively speaking, they're fantastic. I am half-joking with you when I refuse to take them seriously. But their style of play is great. They've got really great role players and Harden has been amazing in the regular season. And I think it would work with LeBron. I think if you're just looking around the league at the situation that would be the best fit for LeBron and put him in the best position to challenge the Warriors, I think Houston is probably the correct answer. I just don't know if that's how he's going to decide his free agency.

If you look back over his move to Miami, his move to Cleveland, LeBron's always kind of working from a different playbook than the one that we're looking at. I think Houston is a little bit too on the nose and predictable for this summer, but we'll see. The other thing is, Miami caught the whole world off guard in 2010. But I wonder if that free agency happened today. Would the level of Internet sleuthing that goes on with NBA reddit and they're 500 NBA writers focusing on every scenario. I wonder if Miami would really catch us off guard that much today. Basically, I'm kind of expecting LeBron to surprise us with his free agency, but maybe it's impossible to surprise anyone in the current media landscape. 

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Golliver: I can't believe we talked about this for so long and you haven't brought up the conspiracy theory, which I was sure you were going to bring up... Sneaker wars. If Kevin Durant goes to the Warriors, it kind of steps on Steph Curry and the Under Armour momentum, right? LeBron goes to Houston, you step on the stripes. James Harden is the guy for Adidas right now. That would certainly present some platform issues for them. 

Sharp: I can't believe I missed that. I'm off my game, that's a big miss on my part. 

Golliver: It's OK because that's another reason I have a hard time seeing this happen. It's not just egos—personalities and business interests, too. LeBron has consistently surrounded himself with guys who are sort of on "Team LeBron," and it's just hard to see Harden as a "Team LeBron" guy, that's all. 

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