Griffin: 76ers Have "Leg Up" On LeBron

If LeBron James leaves Cleveland, Philadelphia could be his top destination

May 24, 2019 - 12:48 am

With the Cavs down 0-2 in the NBA Finals, conversation has shifted toward LeBron James’ future in Cleveland. Will he stay or will he go?

That is the question.

“I think staying in the East probably gives him the best chance to win a championship,” former Cavs GM David Griffin said on The Zach Gelb Show. “Maybe staying in Cleveland gives him the best chance to get there. I don’t know. I do think it’s significant, though, that Rich Paul is the representative for Ben Simmons as well. He’s going to know (Philadelphia’s) organization very well, and I think that will certainly give (the 76ers) a leg up.”

James has been down this road before. In 2010, he elected to take his talents to South Beach – and won a pair of NBA championships in the process. In 2014, he returned to Cleveland.

In 2018, he must decide whether he wants to stay there.

“I think it’ll be a radically different situation in Cleveland for the fans and for the city if he made the decision to leave now,” Griffin said. “With many of them, he’s earned the right to do. I think because he does so much for Northeast Ohio, he’s doing so much for the kids of Akron – literally sending thousands of kids to college. I think people feel like he’s earned the right to make the decision. They all hope he stays, obviously.”

James has been otherworldly in the playoffs, with averages of 34.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 1.4 steals. He has advanced to eight consecutive NBA Finals, but the Warriors remain a thorn in his side. The Cavs have trailed the Warriors 0-2 in three straight Finals. Cleveland came back to win it all in 2016, but this year’s roster is noticeably different (read: not as good).

Still, James gives the Cavs a chance to win every time he steps on the court.

“He’s fixated, above all things, on winning,” Griffin said. “(It’s) not about him. Yes, if it can be about him when they win, that’s fine, too. But I think what’s most important to him is pushing the right buttons with these guys. He has a supporting cast here that’s much different than what he’s had in the past. They don’t have a great number of players that have been through this before that have ever played on a stage this large, so he knows he’s going to have to cajole them through it a little bit. That’s what he’s going to do. When he had Richard Jefferson and Kyrie and Channing Frye and some there guys, it was a different mentality he could have. I think he’s adapted very well to this roster.”

Game 3 is Wednesday in Cleveland at 9 p.m. ET.