It was ESPN’s Chris Haynes that first reported that if the Warriors cleared enough cap room for a max contract, that LeBron James would take a meeting with Warriors to discuss possibly joining, what is already the best team in the league.
Would LeBron do it?
Could this just be a farfetched idea? Let’s break it down. There’s no reason for LeBron to ever say no to a meeting with anyone, so why not? For LeBron, this would almost guarantee a few more championships, as well as give the ability for him to not have to carry a team, which would potentially even lengthen his career. He’s already dealt with the backlash of joining a “Super Team”, when he and Chris Bosh, joined the Miami Heat a number of years back, so he knows how to deal with that. Conversely, LeBron would need to essentially put his ego in check and take a similar attitude as that of Kevin Durant who decided he couldn’t beat them, so he joined them. One Championship and what looks like a run toward another has vindicated Durant, so maybe LeBron could do the same? The story gets more interesting when you consider a Jason McIntyre report LeBron and others hold disdain for Steph Curry. Obviously, LeBron would need to get passed that, should he join the Warriors, but could it be that easy? It was easy for LeBron to team up with Wade and Bosh and face criticism because they were his friends, Wade especially being the Peanut Butter to his Jelly.
But could LeBron join rivals? What would make this move worth it for LeBron would be the ability to get closer to Jordan’s mark of 6 championships (LeBron currently has 3) and even though some would argue that it’s not the same because Jordan won all of his with one team, numbers never lie. As weird as it feels based on LeBron’s stellar statistical output, this may be the downside of his career and if he can extend it a bit longer and win at the same time, it’s certainly something he’d consider.
Would the Warriors do it?
The Warriors famously decided not to trade Klay Thompson for Kevin Love when they had the chance. At the time, few out there thought this was the right decision, as Love was considered closer to a superstar that Klay was, but history has proven to favor Golden State. The shrewd move to hold onto Klay has helped GState to build the dynasty that it has, and while Thompson has been a huge part of the success of the Warriors, to get LeBron, they’d need to move Klay. Thompson is younger and a good defender, but realistically, he’s the piece they can afford to lose if they sign LeBron… or is he? Klay is criminally underrated and overshadowed by Steph, KD, and even Draymond Green. Klay quietly goes about his business, scoring when needed, defending the best guard on the opposing team, and just handling business. He doesn’t seem to make waves and while LeBron has a big personality (not that it’s a bad thing), Klay seemingly does not.
Is there smoke to this fire?
This report has certainly caused the mental wheels to start turning. Could we see the Warriors become even more unstoppable? Would the league become boring as other teams realize there might be no way to stop them? That likely isn’t the case. A team like Houston that shoots a ton of 3’s could win any game if they’re falling. The question this year and beyond is, can they fall in high enough volumes 4 times in 7 games against the Warriors in the playoffs?
Another thing to consider is, perhaps LeBron is just putting this out there to create some unrest with the Warriors. If the Warriors were to consider this, they’d have to move Klay to clear up the cap space. Could that uncertainty cause Klay to lash out like he never has before? Could he start to resent the only franchise he’s known, just for considering trading him after winning multiple championships?
LeBron knows that this year, his Cavs aren’t looking as strong as in year’s past. Perhaps he’s softening the blow to another team, perhaps even Houston, by throwing out the idea of going to the juggernaut Warriors, but instead opting to sign with the “underdog” Rockets and join James Harden and Chris Paul. If he just went to Houston, people may again say that he was joining a “Super Team”, but if he spurned the team of teams Golden State, the general public may start to root for him again. While LeBron has been the villain in the past, he is at his best when we can get people rooting for him and this sneaky plan may the best way to secure his exit from Cleveland and still keep the fans in his back pocket.