Fake billboards, radio rants and Photoshop have made it nearly impossible to know how much stock one should place in this LeBron James-Boston Celtics string of rumors.
Mr. Hardwood Paroxysm himself, Matt Moore joined Celtics Beat Podast this week and he believes the buzz around James and the Celtics is real. Moore says he gives he Celtics a “20% chance” of signing LeBron which is a lot higher than most would have ever assumed possible.
“If he’s serious about contending for titles nobody gives him a better chance than the Celtics. They’re deeper, they have star power, they’re in the East so it’s easier to make the finals. There are a million reasons that make sense from a basketball perspective. It’s everything else that makes it a little tricky.”
Moore says would have never considered the possibility until he heard the report coming from Steven A. Smith that LeBron James and the Celtics have some level of mutual interest in one another.
“If Stephen A. says there’s going to be a meeting, there’s going to be a meeting,” Moore told Celtics Beat’s Adam Kaufman. “I think those meetings will probably not be heavily publicized. I think Ainge will keep it on the down-low because he knows how much it will upset the balance of the team if that gets to be publicized.”
The reasons this marriage would make sense are fairly obvious. James has a streak of consecutive Finals appearances, and remaining in the Eastern Conference gives him the best chance to maintain that run. He also just took a hit, falling to 3-6 in the championship series. However, Moore, who writes for ActionNetwork.com, thinks this meeting would be a quick one.
“[Boston] has been his nemesis and he takes special joy in punishing them. That’s one of the reasons he’s been so spectacular there. I have a hard time seeing that meeting being anything more than perfunctory,” said Moore.
On the flip side of this is the Celtics, where Danny Ainge has spent the last five years building a sustainable model of success through shrewd decisions. Moore doesn’t see making a splash for James jiving with that track record. Still, nothing would surprise him in this NBA.
“This league continues to surprise me. They’ve built this great culture with Stevens and Ainge, and this shared responsibility, and everybody buying in, and the concept of sacrifice. That goes out the window when you have LeBron,” said Moore. “And it’s not a thing about him. It’s not that he’s selfish or he’s a terrible person. It’s just the most pressure is on him and he’s the best player alive. So that comes with responsibility he has to carry, which means he dominates the conversation and you shape everything around him. But that warps your organization.”