Photo credit: Ron Schwane/AP

God bless ESPN’s Chris Haynes, who has tossed a bomb right into the NBA’s mid-season swoon by reporting that LeBron James is willing to meet with the Golden State Warriors about potentially joining them via free agency this summer.

Haynes’s report says that James would listen to any pitch from Golden State out of “respect for the Warriors’ winning culture,” and it also states that there is currently no indication that the Warriors are planning any kind of move for James. So, really, there’s not much here. But who cares, man! Let’s freeeaaaaak ouuuuuttttt.

The first thing to do is figure out how in the hell the Warriors could even make this work. Haynes, with an assist from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, lays out the path:

A sign-and-trade scenario would be the most realistic way for Golden State to acquire James. The Warriors could build an offer around Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala to match salary and tempt the Cavaliers into making a deal, according to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton.

To make a sign-and-trade possible, Golden State also would need Kevin Durant to decline his player option and take even less than his current annual salary of $25 million, in addition to moving Shaun Livingston’s salary to a team with cap space. Golden State probably would have to fill out its bench with players making the league minimum.


See, now this is the fun part, where you get to spend the next 43 minutes not doing work and instead agonizing over this question: Would the Warriors actually be any better than they are now with LeBron James in place of Klay Thompson? That seems like an insane question given that LeBron James is perhaps the best basketball player of all time, but the Warriors are a near-lock to win 70 games every season and Klay Thompson fits in perfectly with them. Who would handle the ball, LeBron or Steph? How would any team match up with a lineup featuring Curry, LeBron, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant? If that team didn’t win 74 games, would it be a disappointment? Would the rest of the NBA just go on strike?

Once you’ve stopped sweating, feel free to shout your conclusions at your nearest co-worker.