The rest of the NBA will have to hope the Golden State Warriors somehow miss reading ESPN’s latest piece on the future of LeBron James.
“Out of respect for the Warriors' winning culture, James would listen if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space,” Haynes wrote on Wednesday.
Woah. It’s shocking firstly because the Warriors are a totally new name apparently involved in the drawn-out chase for James’s signature. We’ve heard about the Lakers and the Rockets, and the 76ers in the Eastern Conference as potential suitors.
But never the Warriors, up until now.
It’s also shocking because Golden State already had to restructure contracts last summer just to keep the current superteam together. Kevin Durant took less money than he was worth to allow the Warriors to keep Andre Iguodala. It’s remarkable, really, that the Warriors have managed to keep this team going with the salary cap to consider.
So how the hell, politely, would they find the cap space to accommodate the NBA’s preeminent superstar? Well, a key part of Haynes’s report is that James would require the Warriors to “create a max salary slot.”
That means one of the superstars and likely one of the key role players would have to be a part of a sign-and-trade package whereby the Cavaliers signed James again before immediately sending him to Golden State in exchange for Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala. Even then, Haynes writes, “Golden State probably would have to fill out its bench with players making the league minimum.”
Basically this doesn’t make sense for anyone—even James, who would be on the greatest starting lineup ever constructed but part of a team with zero depth. It isn’t going to happen. But even the indication that James might be interested in joining the Warriors is too fascinating not to start imagining the otherworldliness of Stephen Curry, Durant and James (but no Thompson) on the same court in the same uniform at the same time.