Why LeBron may consider joining Golden State

    If the Cavaliers can’t secure a championship this season, LeBron may be on the move

    More stories from Scott Procter


    Last week, ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported a meeting between James and the Golden State Warriors could take place this off-season.

    Eight years ago, LeBron James held an hour-long special on ESPN to announce his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat. Departing from his hometown and the only team he had known for seven seasons, he joined all-stars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in pursuit of his first NBA championship.

    In the years that followed, James would conquer his first two NBA titles in Miami before rejoining the Cavaliers and bringing the city its first championship in 2016. Back in Cleveland, James seemed to have found a “big-three” better than the trio he originally joined in Miami.

    Teamed up with another pair of all-stars, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, James seemed primed to add a few more rings to his collection.

    However, the Golden State Warriors had other plans in mind.

    Following a record-setting 73-win season and a loss to the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors did the unthinkable (at the time). Golden State signed four-time NBA Scoring Champ and 2013 Most Valuable Player (MVP), Kevin Durant.

    This move teamed Durant up with the first unanimous league MVP in Stephen Curry, as well as all-stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. While there have been big-threes and great teams in the past, none have had this much top-tier talent on one squad.

    To make matters worse, James’ sidekick, Irving, became fed up with playing alongside him and requested a trade that landed him in Boston. Cleveland received all-star point guard Isaiah Thomas and other assets in return, but the Cavaliers would not be the same.

    Losing eight of their last 12 games and sitting third in the Eastern Conference standings, Cleveland has struggled by their standards at this point in the season. Sitting atop the East and seven-and-a-half games above the Cavaliers are the Boston Celtics, led by Kyrie Irving. Oh, and the Warriors? They’re just the best team in the league, sitting at 41-12.

    In his 15th season and time winding down in his career, James is in a win-now position. He has to consider whether his team, with a struggling Thomas, a now injured Love (out 6-8 weeks), and other inconsistent players will be enough to conquer the mighty Warriors come June — or to even make it there.

    If James and the Cavaliers can’t attain their goal of becoming NBA champions this summer, decisions will have to be made, even ones no one will see coming. One possible move may be a repeat of one James has already pulled once in his career, one that may send the basketball world into frenzy.

    If the Warriors can create a maximum salary spot this off-season, they could meet with James about joining the defending champs, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.

    James is at a point in his career where he has attained just about every individual accomplishment and his legacy will be based on how many more championships he can win.

    Is he in a position where he can turn down joining a team that will boast four of the league’s top 15 players and surely dominate the league? The logistics of making the trade happen will not be easy, considering the Warriors have the league’s highest payroll, but it is very much possible.

    James knows exactly how he feels about the rumors of him joining the team that defeated him in two of the last three NBA Finals.

    “It’s nonsense,” James told NBA.com. “My only focus right now is trying to figure out how we can become a championship-caliber team in these next few months.”

    If the Cavaliers can’t “figure out” how to win a championship this season, James’ days in Cleveland may be numbered. In a league where there are only about three to four teams with legitimate chances of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, Golden State is the most appealing destination.

    As much as it would hurt James’ fans and possibly ruin the competitiveness of the league, joining Durant and Curry in the bay area is an opportunity LeBron cannot ignore. It wouldn’t be unprecedented.