All Aboard the Boat

How likely is a Banana Boat reunion in 2018? We take you step by step through the ways LeBron, Melo, CP3 and D-Wade could all come together. But fans shouldn't count their bananas before they're bunched.

Ever since a vacation photo surfaced of LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade sharing a banana boat on vacation in 2015, NBA fans have had one question: How do we get the Banana Boat Bunch together on the same team? (OK, maybe that was the third question after, "Why were those guys on a banana boat?" and "How did fellow vacation buddy Carmelo Anthony avoid ending up in that embarrassing photo?") It seemed as if we were close to assembling the squad this summer, but then Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets, and Phil Jackson was ousted in New York -- seemingly ending the possibility of a Melo buyout -- and our Banana Boat Bunch dreams were dashed forever.

Or were they?

While June's flurry of moves threw a wrench into the reunion process, there are still a few ways Anthony, James, Paul and Wade could sail together in 2018.

The Houston Scenario

Chris Paul is already there, so the big piece to figure out would be getting LeBron James to Houston on the max deal he's almost certain to demand, while also leaving enough room to maneuver for Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

How it could happen:

The Los Angeles Scenario

What if next summer rolls around and it turns out CP3's Rockets failed to launch (say, another familiar second-round exit for Paul) and the point guard decides he wants to explore his options? Well, one of those options would be a return to Los Angeles ... as a Laker. And this time there'd be nothing David Stern could do about it.

How it could happen:

The New York Scenario

Knicks fans have been dreaming of LeBron playing his home games at Madison Square Garden since ... well, probably since 2002, before James was even in the NBA. But James has fanned the flames a bit over the years, once telling the New York Post, "If I could have 82 regular-season games in the Garden, I would because it's the mecca of basketball."

How it could happen:

The Fifth Banana Boater

The Banana Boat Bunch currently includes only four members, while an NBA team needs five on the floor. So who should fill out the squad, should this foursome find a way to unite? Given that the current crew consists of two guards and two wings, we decided to focus on big men who'll be available in 2018 and would round out the team not only on the court but also on a fun summer vacation.

Illustrations by Elias Stein

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