Where LeBron Plays Next Impacts Pacers Offseason Decision Making
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INDIANAPOLIS – Outside of the Boston Celtics, no team in the Eastern Conference has pushed LeBron James harder in the playoffs than the Indiana Pacers.
But the Pacers have always come up short against the best player in the world.
In 5 of their last 6 trips to the playoffs, the Pacers have fallen to a LeBron-led team. Four of those five series have gone at least 6 games though, including a 7-game series loss to LeBron and the Cavaliers this past season.
Similar to Tom Brady and the Patriots, fans in the state of Indiana have to be wondering if they will ever get over the massive challenge that is James.
It’s possible though the Pacers have seen the last of LeBron in the Eastern Conference.
With the Cavs being swept in the finals and showing minimal signs of having an established championship core around LeBron, could The King say bye-bye to his hometown for a second time?
James, who has a player option with the Cavs for next season, has to be seriously mulling over options to perhaps head to the Western Conference for the first time in his career, or even find a better built team in the East.
Dysfunction defined Cleveland’s season this past year with LeBron pushed to the brink of elimination in the opening round of the playoffs for the first time in his 15-year career.
Where LeBron ends up this summer certainly impacts how the Pacers will go about their own decisions this summer.
“You look at where LeBron goes, it does make a difference,” Pacers team president Kevin Pritchard says. “If he goes West, does that affect our personnel? In a way, (yes). In a way, no. We only want really good kids that fit what we are about, which serve our Pacers’ ethos. That doesn’t change. But do you look for a guy for 15 minutes, can he go guard the best player in the world? And, really, the truth is not many guys can do that.
“You do look for that final piece of how does this one player really help us get past the first round? We look at that. No doubt.”
Of course, everything starts with LeBron and what he wants heading into his age 34 season.
-Does he want a change of scenery and head out West to play in Los Angeles, or with good friend Chris Paul in Houston?
-Is LeBron content with staying home and trying to rebuild things for a final stretch run with the Cavs?
-Would LeBron be intrigued by things with the 76ers, given their young duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both on rookie contracts?
This domino coming in the next few weeks will have everyone in the NBA watching, including a team that has seen LeBron quite a lot in his career.
LeBron plays for who next year?
— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) June 9, 2018