Here’s the thing. In the digital and social era, where everybody gets their news online from sources ranging from credible to dubious, multiple times a day, sports news isn’t what it once was. Real, hard-hitting news items have gone the way of the dodo bird, while garbage like fabricated narratives and Twitter feuds have taken over.
It is what it is, so we’re stuck with it. But on that note, nowhere does the absurdity go into overdrive quite like it does when it comes to LeBron James. Without a doubt, LeBron IS the greatest player of this generation so he’s going to get more than his share of media coverage. And he hasn’t always done himself favors with his behavior; we’ve turned the “taking my talents to South Beach” dead horse into glue many times on this site, and then of course there’s the condescending and pedantic attitude toward Kyrie Irving (give him the keys, etc).
What am I getting at? I guess my point is, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
So let’s start our own fabricated narrative, that if you think about it, isn’t too much of a stretch. Why wouldn’t LeBron sign with Golden State in the off-season, and all but guarantee himself another four or five titles?
Think about it. What is the magic number all NBA players who have, do, and will consider themselves among the greatest of all time? Michael’s six NBA titles, right? LeBron currently has three. Can you think of any player with a bigger ego than LeBron, and to whom it would mean more to be able to say, “I’m better than MJ?” Exactly.
The big factor obviously is money. I abhor research on stuff like this so I’m not gonna find and list all of the Warrior’s contract figures here. But with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, there are four guys who are technically “worth” max contracts.
However, if adding four more titles to his tally is more important to LeBron than adding a couple hundred million dollars to the couple billion or so he already has in the bank, couldn’t you see him taking a veteran’s exception? Couldn’t you also see the other guys on the team shaving a couple million off of their own salaries to make a little extra room for LeBron?
Here’s why else it makes sense. LeBron, currently at age 33, is playing as well as he ever has. However, he’s also playing as many minutes as he ever has, and Father Time is undefeated. How long could he be expected to keep up his current level or close to it at his age, playing 38 minutes a game? Goodness only knows, but if that were pared back to, say, 28 minutes a game, a luxury most certainly within reason on a team like the Warriors, he could conceivably play well for another six or seven years.
How many titles would that be? Without making the ludicrous assumption that all would remain status quo and the Warriors automatically win every year, you could still comfortably predict at least four if the core pieces stay in Golden State. That would make a total of seven.
The only other argument I can see people making is that a game day roster consists of 12 guys, not just five. What about the rest of the roster? Easy peasy. Sign three guys with limited or no offensive ability but that can protect the rim. Use your draft picks on guys that are good athletes and good defenders with negligible offense. Pick up a couple of veteran free agents for the minimum salary that are known for their D. The Lakers’ Corey Brewer comes to mind, and voila. Roster.
Will this happen? Eh. Doubtful. The ego, especially that of a superstar basketball player, is monstrous and not conditioned to a “sacrifice a little now for immortality later” mindset. But it could. And if it does, you read it hear first. Unless of course, you read it somewhere else first. In which case, darn.