Imagine if the richest company in the world hired the wealthiest person on the planet. That’s the mind-bending scenario that could happen in the NBA this offseason.
The Golden State Warriors could “position themselves” to land a meeting with LeBron James in free agency this summer if they can create a maximum salary slot for him, ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported early Thursday morning, citing league sources.
That’s right: One of the best teams in NBA history could make a run at arguably the game’s greatest player.
A lot would need to happen for the Warriors to acquire James, who’s expected to decline his player option for the Cleveland Cavaliers and hit free agency this offseason. Golden State currently has $135 million tied up in payroll, the highest in the league, per Haynes, and if it wants to clear a path for James, it first would need Kevin Durant to decline his 2018-19 player option and re-sign at a discounted rate.
The Warriors then would need to complete a sign-and-trade with the Cavs for James that could involve sending Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala to Cleveland, according to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton.
The interest is there, though: James would listen to the defending champions’ free agent pitch “out of respect for the Warriors’ winning culture” if they were able to work out the details, Haynes wrote.
“James and his business team have been known to covet structure,” Haynes added. ” … With Golden State, an ultra-aggressive general manager in Bob Myers, the ownership group as a whole and coach Steve Kerr are the epitome of that.”
There’s a sliver of hope for the rest of the league, as Haynes reports there’s “no indication” the Warriors are exploring such options to land James. But the fact that this even is on the table should make the rest of the league shudder.
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