My Thoughts on the LeBron James to the Golden State Warriors Rumors
On July 4, 2016, Kevin Durant agreed to sign with the Golden State Warriors, and the NBA landscape was changed forever. The Era of the Superteam was officially upon us. Since that day, the way to win in the NBA became compiling the most stars as possible. The Warriors had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant, the first “Big 4” that the league had ever seen. Since then, other teams have put together the best teams they can, with varying degrees of success. While the Warriors really launched the Superteam Era into what it is today, there had been Superteams in the past, most notably the Miami Heat after LeBron decided to go there in 2010.
LeBron has been a part of two championship-winning Superteams, the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has won with fellow stars like Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Now, as his current team begins to crumble, LeBron appears to be setting his sights toward the future, which leads us to Wednesday, January 31, 2017.
On that fateful evening, at 10:18 p.m., Chris Haynes, an NBA reporter covering the Golden State Warriors for ESPN, tweeted out a story which said that LeBron James would be willing to meet with the Warriors in free agency. Now, Haynes has a history of being ahead of the curve with these kind of things, as he speculated that Durant would want to join the Warriors far before anyone else did. It is looking more and more likely that LeBron will leave the Cavaliers in the upcoming summer, and as his team slides farther down the Eastern Conference standings, it appears that LeBron actually looks eager to leave.
His performance has significantly declined since the Christmas Day game against Golden State, with all his percentages taking significant dips, and he has had the third-worst +/- in the NBA over that time. His team appears to be crumbling around him, Kevin Love broke his hand and is out for the next two months, and Isaiah Thomas has not been the player that the Cavaliers anticipated he would be. His team has an awful defense, and potential trades seem to be slipping away.
So what’s the deal with this rumor? Why has it been leaked that LeBron will meet with the Warriors in the offseason? In my mind, this is simple. LeBron James leaked this himself, to try and put pressure on Dan Gilbert and the front office in order to get them to make a trade or make a significant effort to show him their commitment to him and winning. I have no real reason to believe that this will happen, but it is fun to imagine the possibilities.
There are several reasons for me not believing that this deal would happen. First of all, the salaries would be absurd. As reported in the article, the most likely way for the deal to work would have to be a sign-and-trade with the Cavaliers in which they would receive Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala. This would be primarily to clear cap space, as Andre Iguodala and Klay both make a lot of money, and LeBron has made a point to say that he won’t sign for less than the max. Me personally, I would not give up Klay Thompson for any other player that is currently in the NBA right now, as he is one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA, as well as being an integral part in two championships. In my mind, he doesn’t deserve to be in trade rumors, he’s too good for that. Another reason that I know this leak came from LeBron and his team is that the Warriors wouldn’t mess with what they currently have going as drastically as LeBron would. The Warriors currently have four of the best 15 players in the league on the same roster, and they have seemingly no problems, why would they leak something like this that could potentially create problems with chemistry? It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Now that I have made it clear that I don’t see this happening, I do think that it is fair to say that it would be absolutely hilarious to watch. I think that if LeBron was on the Warriors, as they are currently constructed, they would beat their 73-9 record from 2016. Now, without a guy like Klay or Draymond, which is what the deal would require in order to make the salary work, then I don’t see how the team would be much better than they are now. They would have a weaker bench, as they would basically only be able to have guys on minimum deals, but I do think that the season would feel like it has a much more predictable conclusion than it has right now. It would also be hilarious to watch LeBron’s fans pivot to becoming Warriors fans, especially after four straight years of coming at our throats.
With all that being said, I do not see this happening. I do think that LeBron will leave after this season, but I think that it is much more likely that he ends up with either the San Antonio Spurs or the Houston Rockets. Whatever ends up happening in terms of LeBron’s future, to say it will be interesting is a massive understatement.