Regarded and self-identified as the “best player in the world”, LeBron James has yet another ‘decision’ to make this summer. With the Golden State Warriors one game away from dropping him to 3-6 in the Finals, James could possibly be looking to take his talents, again, somewhere else. After a 2018 Finals run for the King and all his men, LBJ is presenting beat, worn down, and plain tired of carrying a majority of the load.
By now, we all know the name and what he brings, so why wouldn’t the Celtics try to make a run at him right? The dynamic would be interesting, but it could also be forever damaging. Danny, if you’re reading this, for the love of Larry Bird do not consider this move. The case for having LeBron on your team is hard to dispute. However, there’s better reason to keep the King in a far away land that goes deeper than stats. Here’s why:
Style and Grace
Over the years, Boston basketball has transformed from a slow-paced, give Paul Pierce the ball and move, to the run and gun, high-flying showcase we see today. Maneuvering with an up-tempo style and constant ball movement, it’s something LBJ is almost unstoppable at when he has room in the paint. Aside from a Tatum throw-down or a Brown slash to the hoop, Boston’s ability to get to the rim outside of Kyrie has been close to non-existent. They’ve relied mostly on long bombs and mid range shots. No one gets to the hole like LBJ. Stylistically, the fit would ironically work.
However, the Celtics have two gems in Tatum and Brown, plus Hayward being another piece to the Celtics’ puzzle. Having the ability to also slash and drive, prepare to sometimes watch him put dudes on a poster if he’s not splashing a three in your face. With that said, Boston doesn’t have a need for an elite SF, and the minutes LeBron would own (38 MPG), would deplete the development of Tatum and Brown. This could possibly make Hayward obsolete as well.
Positionally, LeBron would hinder the Celtics’ growth along with minimizing the true potential for this particular team. He would command a majority of the ball handling and shot taking, something he took away from Kyrie in Cleveland.
The Celtics have a GOOD THING right now with their roster. Also, and most importantly, Boston does not have anywhere close to the finances to afford LeBron James.
To make it even worth discussing, Boston would have to trade two out of the three contracts in G.H./K.I./A.H. to possibly make room for him. Also, and without a doubt, the C’s would have to break up the young core AND give up draft picks should LBJ agree to a sign a trade. He’s worth it, but not for this team. Potentially, this could rank right up there with the Boston Tea Party as a historical event that would change the face of Boston forever.
“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people”
I bet Gandhi didn’t know he’d be referencing the Boston Celtics with that quote above. Still, it holds true. Culturally, LeBron would be an awful fit for the guys in green. Boston already has established leaders, one of which whom left Cleveland to rid Lebron’s shadow and lead his own squad. Concern and frustration with Danny Ainge would ignite riots on the streets of Boston.
Also, and probably most pronounced, the guy leading this team dislikes James like the plague. Usually the high-road kind of guy, Irving would never tell us that he has a genuine distaste for LBJ. But could it be more obvious? Not only did he silence his way out of a winning situation in Cleveland, he was sick of being second to James and his ego.
It’s expected that Irving wouldn’t be fine moving back to the backseat to James yet again. The C’s even meeting with LBJ could raise some eyebrows and be harming to No. 11’s relationship, with the likelihood of becoming a free-agent himself next year. Boston has too great a situation with Kyrie as their leader. LeBron’s barely showed he can lead a team himself. Let’s not forget, if not for Kyrie or Ray Allen, the “King” would be 2-6 in the Finals. That’s pretty important, and a testament to LeBron’s reliance of those getting him a get out of jail free card.
LBJ has a history of problems with his coaches, and player. Enter zone Zero Dark Thirty
Brad Stevens, despite the lack of props from his peers, has emerged as one of the NBA’s best coaches. Not one for showing emotion all the time, Stevens has set himself apart as a coaching savant in the face of adversity. He was the driving force behind late game defensive shifts and play calling that would mimic the Rockets or Warriors. His leadership also allowed a short-handed Boston a run into the ECF. Still, Stevens is a no BS guy. James trying to side comment or question Stevens, someone who’s praised James, wouldn’t let it happen in Boston. With Erik Spoelstra, David Blatt, Mike Brown, Tyronn Lue and Paul Silas taking the LBJ heat, Boston’s locker room seemingly has too much respect for Stevens to join the LeBron Side Show.
Try imagining LBJ holding Ainge hostage like he did with Dan Gilbert. Being a regular with highway robbery, it would be laughable to see LBJ upset with his situation and try forcing trading away a whole team. Keep in mind, ’twas King GM who suggested J.R. Smith get his money, and had a say in the moves to “bring every hurt, former All-Star in” approach last off-season. Besides that, he was solely the catalyst who drove one of the best young NBA players in today’s game far, far away.
The Celtics are too solidified to acquire by a 33-year-old individualist, and the synergy for Boston wouldn’t work. Fans would absolutely lose their minds. Great player? Sure. Good for Boston? Definitely not.
What if things weren’t in favor of LBJ? Would he stop speaking to Smart because he can’t hit a shot? Would he point and display his crying face to Baynes if keeps getting dunked on? Truthfully, they’d be gone in a day in Cleveland. Hell, if not for it being the Finals, so would J.R. Smith. Usually one to go off the grid during the playoffs, LeBron has a tendency to “shut out” players he’s not fond of, even if they play on the same team. It’ll be surprising to see Lue on the sidelines for Cleveland if LBJ is back next year, and less likely if they get swept should he have a say as the player-coach-president he tries to be.
When you’re king, you get draped in gold. Crowns, clothing, but most importantly rings. Yes, LBJ has three, but two of them were won by others. Two of them came from last second shots from players who’s bailed him out of poor play and faulty execution. Of course, LBJ lovers wont see it that way, but facts are facts. Truth is, ANY team that acquires LeBron is agreeing to sell not only their soul to get him, but sacrificing any chance for a future of a franchise. Sure, said team will ride that train for a while, but they’ll inevitably come crashing down years later having to rebuild from scraps. Danny is in “if it’s not broke why fix it” mode, and most likely wouldn’t sacrifice the structure he’s put in place for a LeBron James. It just doesn’t seem like something that would really fit in Boston.
If any NBA Finals proved to be a LeBron stopper, it’s this one. Yes, Golden State has potentially two HOF’s in Curry and Durant, and maybe even three with Klay Thompson. This series showed that LeBron is human. His teammates haven’t been the best statistically, but he did have a hand in picking them at one point. And the dude can’t keep or be agreeable with a coach to save his life. Something also doesn’t yell out “team” when you say things like ‘I feel confident because I’m the best player in the world’, and still lose in the finals. In fact, he would still be win-less in the Finals since that quote if not for Kyrie Irving. Best player in the world? Mmm.
All Hail the King?
Aside from being soft, Boston has also been one of LBJ’s main foes during his career. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a team that’s been the close to cracking the LeBron James code, especially one sometimes not full strength. This could be a case of if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Something that’s been LeBron’s m.o. in search of more championships. More likely though, it’s closer to a “Thanks, but no thanks” scenario. For now, LBJ sits high on Cleveland throne, but it’s becoming lonely with no prince to take his place. So before history repeats itself, and he has a chance to live out his best King Richard III impression, it’d be wise to keep LeBron out of Boston’s castle towers.