Every time Stephen A. Smith opens his mouth it’s difficult to know whether what he’s saying is based in any sort of fact or if he’s just, you know, talking. But it’s hard not to take notice after the ESPN analyst listed the Celtics among the teams that LeBron James will talk to during free agency. Here’s what Stephen A. said on the matter on ESPN’s first take.
“LeBron James is going to have a conversation with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They can offer him the most, and they are willing to do anything they can to keep him here, etc. etc., and obviously the wife is going to have a major, major say in things. So you got that going on. He’s going to have a conversation with Boston. He’s going to have a conversation with Philly. Obviously the Lakers. Houston’s in the mix as well. They are going to go after him. Make no mistake about it.”
“So you got Cleveland, Philly, Boston, Houston, LA, Golden State… I don’t think there’s anything Miami can do, but obviously because he was there and brought them two championships. Pat Riley made amends with Dwyane Wade, and you know how LeBron feels about D-Wade. Those are all conversations he’s going to have. Those are the seven teams.”
Again, is Smith reporting this or is he just talking?
Either way it’s gets the wheels churning. Could the Celtics do it? Would they do it? I mean, it’s possible but it would probably require LeBron to request a sign and trade from Cleveland at $35 million per year. The Celtics then would need to come up with a LeBron worthy package to send back which would have to include either Al Horford, Gordon Hayward or Kyrie Irving plus others just to make the money work out.
The next question is, and this sounds ridiculous because who wouldn’t move heaven and earth for LeBron – is do the Celtics even want him?
LeBron is LeBron but when he joins your team you are giving up the franchise to him completely. That includes player personnel decisions and coaching. Nothing against James but the Celtics are pretty set in both those departments with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens respectively.
Second, whatever it is the Celtics have built which is pure and exciting and something the fan base has gotten behind completely changes forever. I’m betting there’s a large faction of Celtics fans who would rather stay the course and let LeBron ‘take his talents’ elsewhere.