Two years ago, in the offseason of 2015, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and their families vacationed at the Bahamas, and took the infamous pic of the “Banana Boat Squad.” However, Carmelo Anthony was not part of this picture, and replaced by Wade’s wife, Gabrielle Union on the banana boat. But, there was proof that he was with them, as he was included in an Instagram post by Dwyane Wade during that vacation. Ever since then, their friendship has been known as the “Banana Boat Squad.”
All four players have been very close friends with each other throughout their careers. There had always been speculations about them joining the same team at one point of their careers, but it has not happened—yet. In 2010, we saw a tiny preview as James decided to join Wade in Miami with Chris Bosh, which led to winning 2 championships.
Before we look at which teams the Banana Boat crew can potentially join, let’s quickly analyze how many years are left on each player’s contracts, and their current status with their teams: Carmelo Anthony made it clear that he wants to be traded out of New York, and will only waive his no trade clause to certain teams. He has two years left on his deal, but he can opt out next year if he wants to. Chris Paul recently got traded to the Rockets, with one year left on his contract, and might leave the Rockets if they fail to have a successful season. LeBron James claimed that he is definitely leaving Cleveland in 2018 because of the relationship with the Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, could not be fixed. And Dwyane Wade has one year left on his contract, and is in talks to reach a buyout agreement with the Bulls.
So, with all four players being free agents next year, it seems that there is a chance for them to team up for the 2018-19 season. If we look closely at which players are content and might remain on their current team next year, it would only be Chris Paul. Let us imagine that Paul’s buddies decide to join him in Houston—how can this happen?
Right now, the Rockets have approximately $85 million of their cap space occupied for the 2018-19 season. Even though just saying that statement makes this sound nearly impossible, it can still be a reality. First off, they need to bring back Chris Paul, and try to persuade to take a salary cut to bring in his other pals. In this offseason, the Rockets were one of the teams that Carmelo Anthony was interested to be traded to, and there were rumors that they were very close to make the trade possible. Another option is to spend another season in the Knicks, then opt out of his contract, but that might give the Rockets salary problems. If they manage to pull off the trade, they should definitely try to convince Melo to take a bit of a salary cut, since they are pretty tight on money. To bring Lebron on board, the Rockets will definitely have to make a few moves to make cap space to give the 3-time champ the money he wants. For the final piece, Dwyane Wade, he probably would have to take another pay cut, but he definitely would be happy joining his friends in Houston and complete the squad.
Since there are rumors speculated around Lebron to join the Lakers next year, what is better than having your squad play alongside you in under the lights of Hollywood? Here is a way of how the crew can play together for the Lakers:
The Lakers have been saving cap space to give James the money he wants next year, so it should not be such a shocker if LeBron is the first one to join. Even though the Rockets have bird rights for Chris Paul, they can try to move players like Luol Deng, or Jordan Clarkson to open up cap space and not be so far behind Houston’s contract in terms of money. To get Melo and Wade, the Lakers will definitely have to bring in Paul and James first, and hope that they will take a pay cut.
Although the idea of this happening sounded ridiculous a few years ago, it is now turning into somewhat of a reality. With most of their careers whining down, this can possibly be the best time for all of them to join forces, especially in the era of “super teams.” Plus, they will all be unrestricted free agents next year, so there is a chance that the Banana Boat Squad can decide to team up and play together.