I’m going to need special counsel Robert Mueller to stand down on the Russia investigation and take a look at LeBron “King” James’ reported willingness to have a sit-down with the Golden State Warriors.
That could mean that Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and James would be on the same team. This feels like Vladimir Putin’s handiwork, and should this actually go down, I want cases on all you (Denzel Washington Training Day voice).
According to ESPN, James is expected to turn down his $35.6 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent. If the Warriors could clear salary-cap space to make a max contract offer to James, then he’d be willing to take a meeting with the Warriors. While many don’t believe that James will actually accept an offer to create an All-Star team in Cali, below are a few reasons I think he just might do it:
James Loves Winning Above All Else
I once argued that the fact that James came back to Cleveland was the worst thing that could have happened to Cleveland. Yes, James was instrumental in bringing a championship to Cleveland, but he was also instrumental in destroying the team. He pushed for Cleveland to send overall No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins and former lottery pick Anthony Bennett to Minnesota for a vegan version of the rebound machine that was Kevin Love. King James ran Kyrie Irving out of town, and now he wants out. Would the Cavs with Kyrie and Wiggins have won a championship? Hell no! But they wouldn’t be as far down on the rebuilding stage once Bron-Bron boned out.
James is going to take his talents where he knows he can guarantee winning, and what better place than Golden State? Adding James to that already stacked lineup is so good it’s unfair, and James has no problem building All-Star teams. He did so in Miami, bringing a then-dominant Chris Bosh, Ray Allen and a younger Dwyane Wade together. It isn’t like this move is beneath him.
If James Isn’t Strongly Considering the Warriors, Then Why Talk About What They’d Need to Do to Attract Him?
A “no” looks like “no.” It doesn’t look like “clear salary space and then we can talk.” It also doesn’t look like telling the team with the highest payroll in the league exactly what it needs to do to court you.
James and his business team are smart, and I don’t think that these breadcrumbs would be leaked to the media if they didn’t want Golden State to follow up. Not to mention, it’s one way for James to ensure that the team is serious; if in the offseason we hear that Golden State is dumping salaries to make salary-cap space available, it’s safe to assume it is making a push for the King.
James Is Playing for Legacy
At 33 years old, James knows that he’s got maybe seven good years left before he needs to start strongly considering retirement. I say he’s got seven years because James is not a normal human and, as such, could play at a highly productive level at 40.
James wants to leave his mark as the greatest player ever to have played the game, and to do that, he has to surpass at least the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, who are sitting pretty in “the greatest” column with five championship rings. James knows there is no way in hell he’ll ever catch Bill Russell and ’em, but he at least has to surpass Jordan’s championships in order to be in the argument for best player of all time.
And, I hate to say it, but joining the Golden State Warriors would allow him to do just that, at least on paper.
I know it’s still early 2018 and the summer is a ways away, but throwing your hat into the ring to grab arguably the best player in the game can never start too soon.
I hear the sports analysts who claim that James would take the meeting only out of respect, but stranger things have happened, and if Bron-Bron is really chasing rings, tell me which team could stop the Golden State Warriors should they form Voltron?