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LeBron James could meet with Warriors this summer if max deal available

It seems unlikely, but it’s out there.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

If LeBron James hits free agency this summer as expected, he may meet with the Warriors. Yes, really.

Per ESPN’s Chris Haynes, James would meet with the Golden State — the Cavs’ biggest rival since James returned to Cleveland and the league’s most stacked team — if they are able to open up a max contract slot for him. James’ interest in the Warriors is said to stem from his respect for the Warriors’ culture.

Per Haynes, the Warriors are not evaluating make room for James “at this time.” James will become a free agent by declining his player option for next season worth $36.5 million. It will be the third time he’s been an unrestricted free agent.

Clearing a max slot for James would be complicated for Golden State to pull off, so a sign-and-trade would be the easiest way for the move to happen. The Cavs used a sign-and-trade when James signed with the Heat in order to get something for James when he left already. Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala could be the salaries and talent needed to make a deal happen, per ESPN, and a max for James would also require Kevin Durant to take pay cut and decline his own player option. Golden State also already has the league’s most expensive payroll.

It’s hard to see this actually happening considering all of the moving parts required to make it happen and what it would mean for James to sign with that team that already has Durant, Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. It’s also way too soon to really know what James thinks about his free agency. But in a little over five months, when free agency is set to start, maybe this will come up again.