As everyone knows, LeBron James will be a free agent this summer just as he was in 2010 and 2014.
As everyone also knows, the Golden State Warriors have been known to lure a free agent or two, including former MVPs.
But could those two sides actually join forces? Could LeBron sign with the Warriors to create a super-duper superteam?
According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, that dream scenario for Golden State fans, and nightmare scenario for the rest of the NBA, could come true.
Haynes reported Thursday that the two sides could meet during free agency.
ESPN Sources: LeBron James could meet with Golden State Warriors during free-agency. https://t.co/6VACFDFf4M
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 1, 2018
Haynes is as tied in as any NBA reporter is with the two sides: He covers the Warriors beat for ESPN and previously worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
He isn’t predicting that James will go to the Bay Area, but was anyone predicting that Kevin Durant would join the Warriors?
Haynes says there is no indication from the Warriors side that they would be interested, but come on, every NBA team would be interested in LeBron’s services. Not only is he one of the best players in the NBA, but his addition to Cleveland then Miami and then Cleveland again literally shifted the economy within those two cities.
The reason James would be interested in at least hearing the Warriors offer, if they choose to make one, is that he highly values their organizational culture. For all of the success he’s had, LeBron has still butted heads with Dan Gilbert in Cleveland and Pat Riley in Miami over front office moves and team culture, respectively.
In order for Golden State to make room for LeBron, it would have to slash their payroll as James would want a max salary. A max contract would put him at $35.7 million in the 2018-19 season, and coincidentally, the Warriors have two players who make nearly that exact amount.
To welcome LeBron, Golden State would have to get rid of Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, who will make a combined $35 million next season.
Another option is to keep Thompson but get rid of Draymond Green; however, LeBron has a closer relationship with Green (as well as Curry and Durant) than he has with Thompson. And as we know, James loves playing with his friends.
Additionally, Durant would likely have to take another pay cut just as he did last summer. KD left about $10 million on the table so the Warriors could retain some of their other free agents, and Haynes says Durant would have to decrease his salary in 2018-19 to fit in LeBron.
Again, this is all speculation at this point, and James meeting with the Warriors during the summer certainly isn’t a guarantee that he would join the team.
If you can remember back to 2010 and before “The Decision,” LeBron met with not only the Cavs and Heat, but also the Lakers, Bulls, Clippers and Nets.
This has undoubtedly been LeBron’s most difficult season, and he even said as much last month.
With player vs. player feuds, Derrick Rose going AWOL, Kevin Love’s “fake” sickness, Kevin Love’s real injury and cryptic social media posts from LeBron himself, perhaps James just wants a fresh start with new teammates he knows he can count on.
We’ll find out this summer.
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