On Thursday night, the NBA Draft took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The picks each team made had major implications for the direction this off-season free agency will take. The question remains: Who will LeBron James play for next season?Â
As expected, DeAndre Ayton was selected as the first overall pick by the Phoenix Suns. He was followed by Duke sensation Marvin Bagley III, who was drafted by the Sacramento Kings.
All eyes were on the #8 pick as the Cleveland Cavaliers were on the board. Fresh off another NBA Finals appearance, owner Dan Gilbert and the front office team decided to draft Alabama freshman standout point guard Collin Sexton.Â Â
The pick was an important one as many pundits believe whoeverÂ Cleveland selected will have an impact on how LeBron decides where he will suit up next season.
The Lakers, Cavaliers, Rockets and Sixers are early favorites to land "the King".
The free agency period officially begins on July 1, and James has until June 29 to notify Cavs general manager Koby Altman whether he will be taking theÂ $35.6 million option for the 2018-19 season. If he does not, James has the right to engage in contractual conversation with NBA teams.
Teams and player personnel have already started strategizing on how they can land the 15-year-veteran.
Rockets point guard Chris Paul entertained the thought of having Houston mainly focus on landing the Akron native before negotiating his contract.Â But recently, tensions have been rising as Paul wants a max contract which Houston does not want to offer.
The decision of Kawhi Leonard, departing from San Antonio for L.A., plays a major part in James potentiallyÂ heading to Hollywood.
But according toÂ Altman, there has been preliminary "good dialogue" between him and LeBron after their recent Cavs draft pick.Â Sexton, a 2018 SEC Freshman Of The Year award winner, expressedÂ his excitement at potentially suiting up with James.
If the Cavs front office replaces certain pieces of the puzzle that led to a disappointing showing in the 2018 NBA Finals,Â James might stay put in Cleveland. After all, it's a difficult road to the NBAÂ Finals coming out of the Western Conference.