The basketball world was flipped upside down over the last 48 hours after a report from Chris Haynes that indicated LeBron would be willing to take a meeting with the Golden State Warriors in free agency if they were able to open max cap room.
Well, I guess nobody told LeBron:
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com shed additional light on LeBron’s offseason motivations:
“It’s nonsense, and it’s a non story,” James said Friday after the Cavaliers’ practice. “I think it’s a discredit to what I’m trying to do here. It’s a discredit to my teammates and the coaching staff here.
“I never said I would sit down with Golden State or sit down with anybody,” he said Friday.
Vardon took it one step forward, and said that LeBron privately has told people close to him that joining the Warriors is off the table.
The story says James would take this hypothetical meeting out of “respect.” But in the last 24 hours James has in fact confided in people close to him that he would never join the Warriors -- knowing the impact it would have on his legacy.
James went on to lash out at anonymous sources who would suggest that they know what his plans are for the offseason, also via Cleveland.com:
“I’m here, I’m right here, I’m right now and this is my present and this is where I’m at,” James said, referring to Cleveland and the Cavs’ organization. “If you don’t hear something coming from my voice, then it’s not true. I don’t give a damn how close they are, I don’t care if it’s my kids, or my wife or whatever. If it’s not from me, it’s not true, so.”
If James’ camp did indeed leak the info that Chris Haynes is running with, LeBron himself is going out of his way to distance himself from that info. There’s been plenty of speculation that this leak was done to put pressure on Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers front office to make a move to improve the team heading into the trade deadline, but as ever, it’s tough to know.
LeBron is certainly right that a scenario that saw him joining the Warriors, the team that defeated him two of the last three years in the Finals, would likely do irreparable damage to his legacy. Fans already have a bad taste in their mouth about Kevin Durant joining Golden State. It’s hard to imagine how harsh the backlash would be for LeBron to do the same.
This was always a long-shot, and Haynes report did plenty of couching that indicated that this was likely pure fantasy as opposed to reality. As a fan processing all of this information, it’s important to think about why information gets leaked, who it gets leaked to, and when it’s released.
There are constant power plays going on around the NBA behind the scenes, and letting tactical information hit the press will always be part of the game.
LeBron likely won’t be suiting up in a Warriors jersey. What he will do this summer remains a mystery.