There are NBA rumors, and then there’s what Stephen A. Smith said Wednesday morning on “First Take.”
While listing teams LeBron James could meet with this offseason, should he opt out of his deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith rattled off some usual suspects: The Cavs, the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers.
But the ESPN NBA analyst also dropped this bombshell:
“LeBron James is going to have a conversation with the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Smith said, as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston. “They can offer him the most, and they are willing to do anything they can to keep him here, etc. etc., and obviously the wife is going to have a major, major say in things. So you got that going on.
“He’s going to have a conversation with Boston. He’s going to have a conversation with Philly. Obviously the Lakers. Houston’s in the mix as well. They are going to go after him. Make no mistake about it.”
No, Smith didn’t misspeak. He concluded his take by, once again, mentioning the Cetics as a team James will have talks with.
“So you got Cleveland, Philly, Boston, Houston, L.A., Golden State … I don’t think there’s anything Miami can do, but obviously because he was there and brought them two championships. Pat Riley made amends with Dwyane Wade, and you know how LeBron feels about D-Wade. Those are all conversations he’s going to have. Those are the seven teams.”
(You can click here to watch Smith talk about James and the Celtics.)
To be honest, Smith’s “report” felt more plausible before he included the Golden State Warriors. Sure, nothing’s impossible, but it’s very, very difficult to imagine James giving serious thought toward joining the Warriors. Not because he’s against forming superteams (we all know the guy’s history), but because the prospect of James, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry on the same team is, well, ludicrous.
Here’s Smith’s reasoning for that madness:
As for the Celtics, could president of basketball operations Danny Ainge really pursue James this offseason?
First of all, it’s tough to fathom Kyrie Irving signing off on such a quest, given he’s less than a year removed from demanding a divorce from James and the Cavs. Maybe the two superstars secretly want to team up and take down the Warriors (again), but we’re skeptical.
Also, the Celtics already have three star wings in Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Yes, James is better than all of those players, but bringing him into the fold likely would require moving at least one significant piece from a team that already might be championship-caliber.
Is that a worthy sacrifice for signing the best player in the world? Let the debating begin.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images