Monday, July 4, 2022

LeBron James hints at interest in joining Warriors: ‘I would love to get into a pissing match with Draymond’

LeBron James is a longtime rival of the Golden State Warriors, but that has never quelled his admiration for the franchise. Even after facing them in four consecutive NBA Finals, he has frequently gone out of his way to praise their best players and organizational success. He raved about the experience of playing with Stephen Curry at the 2021 All-Star Game, and in April, he explained why, of all active players, he’d most want to play with Curry. 

“In today’s game, sh– there’s some m—–f—— in today’s game, but Steph Curry,” James said. “Steph Curry’s the one that I wanna play with for sure, in today’s game. … I love everything about that guy. Lethal. When he get out his car, you better guard him right from the moment he pulls up to the arena. … You might wanna guard him when he get out of the bed. Swear to god. He’s serious.”

Two months later, he’s singing a similar tune. In a promo for an upcoming episode of his HBO series, The Shop, James revealed that of the teams remaining in the playoffs at the time of shooting, he’d most want to play for the Warriors. “I would love getting into a pissing match with Draymond [Green],” James joked. “I love when someone cusses me out.”

Intentional or not, James may have been referring to an incident between Green and Kevin Durant. The two got into a vocal argument during a regular-season game in 2018. Durant left at the end of that season. James would apparently be just fine with such a dispute. Former Cavaliers coach Ty Lue was well-known for cursing at James when the situation called for it.

But more broadly, LeBron’s continued flirtations with just about every team in the NBA remain notable. He praised Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti at All-Star Weekend. He refused to close the door on a second return to Cleveland at the same time. He’s been playing footsie with Golden State for the past two months. James is eligible for a contract extension with the Lakers this offseason, but if he does not sign one, he will become a free agent next summer. The Warriors will almost certainly be unable to offer him anything more than the mid-level exception, but if James is willing to take a pay cut in his twilight, he might be open to such an arrangement. That will almost certainly be true when his son, Bronny James, is drafted. LeBron has made it clear that he plans to play a season with his son someday.

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For now, the comments can either be read as innocuous or as pressure on the Lakers to put a championship-caliber team around him. James wants to continue to contend, and he’s watching his old rivals try to win a championship while he watches from home. If the Lakers aren’t willing to give him a contender, he’s making it clear that other teams could.

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