This year’s NBA postseason has been pretty good, minus all the injuries, even with the absence of LeBron James. While the era of James playing into June every year is over, that doesn’t mean we won’t hear from the King during the playoffs and especially once the NBA Finals roll around. And one thing we already know is that James would really love to play alongside Wardell Stephen Curry.
LeBron recently doubled down on that once again, during the filming of an upcoming episode of his HBO series, The Shop, that Golden State is the team he’d most want to play for of the teams still competing for a championship.
“In today’s game, sh— there’s some m——-f——— in today’s game, but Steph Curry,” James said. “Steph Curry’s the one that I wanna play with for sure, in today’s game. ... I love everything about that guy. Lethal. When he get out his car, you better guard him right from the moment he pulls up to the arena. ... You might wanna guard him when he gets out of the bed. Swear to god. He’s serious.”
I’m not shocked to hear that James feels this way about playing with Curry, but it is a little strange to hear him say this publicly more than once. We rarely hear players speak this candidly about other stars, especially other superstar players in their sport, while still active. Anything James says, whether good or bad, is scrutinized down to the finest detail. So, when he says this about Curry and how he’d love to be his teammate, he knows that will get picked up.
There’s no way he would’ve chosen the Celtics, knowing the rivalry between them and his Lakers. Fans in Los Angeles would’ve run James out of town once he uttered the word Boston. But imagine for just a second, James joining this Celtics roster. LeBron, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
They’d need to do some tweaking offensively, considering all three players are used to working with the ball in their hands, but defensively, the Celtics would be even tougher than they already are. Three long defensive wing players would be hell for any team in the league to deal with, not just the Warriors. On offense, I like the idea of James at point guard over Marcus Smart anyway. I think they could figure out the Tatum and Brown part of the equation in terms of their fit with LeBron.
But again, we can throw that scenario out of the window because James wouldn’t dare mention playing for the Celtics while being an active part of the Lakers franchise. And James also has a long history with the Celtics, dating back to his days in Cleveland and Miami. So, that scenario probably wouldn’t work for many reasons.
And James’ fit with the Warriors would likely be a much smoother transition. On offense, there would be no issues because Curry, Thompson, and Jordan Poole can all play off the ball. The ball does constantly move in Steve Kerr’s offense, but James would adjust. Draymond and LeBron could take turns running the offense, and they’d still be great defensively with the addition of James. So, of course, he’d want to play with these guys at this late stage of his career.
Surely, there were other teams James could have chosen (depending on when the episode was taped), but everybody knows what Curry and the Warriors have meant to LeBron’s career.
So much of James’ NBA legacy is tied to the Warriors that I can see why he’d want to play for them. Curry and Golden State upset Bron and the Cavs in 2015.
In 2016 it was James’ skirmish with Draymond Green that ultimately led to the most incredible comeback in NBA Finals history. Cleveland erased a 3-1 deficit to win the franchise’s first and only NBA title. When you break it down, LeBron’s seeming infatuation with the Warriors makes sense.
“I would love getting into a pissing match with Draymond [Green],” James explained. “I love when someone cusses me out.”
James and Green have even moved on to become friends and business partners. And that’s after their confrontation in 2016, where Draymond called LeBron a “bitch,” causing James to throw a fit. So, when James says he’d “love to get in a pissing match” with Green and that he loves being cussed out, I just don’t buy it.
King James has been largely viewed as one of the most sensitive players of his era. He’s constantly posting cryptic tweets in response to something someone has said about him. Before the season began, James was on Twitter telling everyone that was calling the Lakers old to keep that same energy.
Well, the energy kept up, but the Lakers didn’t do quite the same. So, I’m not going to be hoodwinked by James this time. I don’t believe for one minute that he’d be OK with Green constantly cursing him out and getting in his face. Because that’s what Draymond does to teammates and opponents regularly.
Sometimes it feels like James is so accustomed to being in the NBA spotlight late in the season that he feels he’s got to give us something to remember him. Not that we’d forget, but you know the saying, out of sight, out of mind. When your team doesn’t play any relevant games in the NBA from April on, that means you’re not around for the postseason. The Lakers couldn’t even make the play-in this year.
The King has his finger on the pulse. James knows what it takes to stay hot where content is concerned. If James isn’t on the court, he knows he needs to hit us with something every now and then, so he stays on our minds. When the King talks, we all listen. And he knows precisely how to take full advantage of that and keep us talking about him.