Since it doesn’t seem like LeBron James can beat the Golden State Warriors again, he might as well follow Kevin Durant’s lead and join them, right?
Don’t laugh. Syncing up with the reigning champs, and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ arch NBA Finals nemesis, might actually be The King’s goal, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes:
There is no indication that Golden State is evaluating such options to acquire the Cleveland Cavaliers star at this time.
Out of respect for the Warriors’ winning culture, James would listen if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space, sources said.
This all feels premature, and extremely, very, intensely unlikely.
Could the Warriors open up the space it would take to sign James (about $35.4 million)? Eh. They wouldn’t have any trouble dumping Klay Thompson’s contract, but getting rid of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston would prove more challenging. Their only semi-legitimate path to LeBron, as Haynes notes, is a sign-and-trade featuring Klay and Iggy. That would leave them to dump other salary elsewhere while hoping Durant opts out and takes yet another pay cut.
That’s too many moving parts, especially for the beginning of February. James probably has no real clue what he’s going to do this July. Not now.
Besides which, the Warriors shouldn’t be gutting their roster for LeBron. He’s perhaps the greatest player of all time, but he’ll be entering his age 34 season next year, and fitting him into the tactical fold will be far more difficult than it was to squeeze in Durant; he’s not the spot-up shooter his peer has been. And the Warriors’ spacing, which is already shaky beyond the starting lineup, might look worse for wear with James subbed in for Thompson. Trading Draymond Green to Cleveland might actually make more sense.
Alas, we’re getting ahead of the game. This scenario is beyond unlikely, and more than that, we need to let this season play out before indulging any LeBron-to-wherever scenarios.