On Friday night, the Golden State Warriors swept LeBron James and won the franchise’s 6th title.
The Cleveland Cavaliers Finals loss wasn’t even a topic for James during his final post-game press conference as a member of the Cavs. “The King” entered the press conference wearing a newly minted cast on his right hand (he couldn’t wait until after the press conference?) while the Cavs’ media threw him softball questions. It’s clear (and typical) that the LeBron sweepstakes officially started the minute the closing buzzer sounded in game 4 and LeBron James loved every minute of it.
Among the teams mentioned in contention for LBJ’s next destination is the Boston Celtics.
Say it ain’t so, Danny!
In typical fashion, Ainge hasn’t said a word about James since Stephen A. Smith started screaming about it. No one truly close to Ainge or the C’s have said a word either. The only people truly talking about this are the media, desperate for anything hot to discuss during one of the most boring NBA Finals of my lifetime.
Since Mike Gorman appeared on Celtics Beat and said this, I’ve been fielding social media questions constantly over whether or not the Celtics will even consider James.
Now that the Finals are over and silly season has officially tipped off, I find it appropriate to speak out about it in more than 280 characters...
I’ll be mixing in my rational takes on LeBron James over the years throughout this column.
LeBron fans, proceed with caution.
Again, proceed with caution...
Thanks but no Thanks, LeBron. Unless...
No Gordon Hayward. No Kyrie Irving. The Boston Celtics still took LeBron James to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Clearly the roster that Danny Ainge has assembled has great chemistry. The current roster appears to have completely bought in to the TEAM culture that Kevin Garnett resurrected in 2007. No need to explain the LeBron and Kyrie Irving saga that had the Cavs trading away their top tier point guard for a hobbled Isaiah Thomas, a chronic malcontent in Jae Crowder and a top pick that fell to #8. Only the 8th pick remains in Cleveland today. Why? Because LeBron wanted it.
Danny Ainge is never going to allow a (soon to be) 34 year old LeBron James have final say on any front office issues. Brad Stevens is way too entrenched, respected and brilliant to allow any one player to interfere in coaching. Can LeBron James be satisfied and have the confidence and faith in the Celtics’ front office to relinquish so much control when he makes his next “decision?”
A better questions is, why would he?
LBJ can go to just about any team he’d like and have similar authorities granted to him in Cleveland. James certainly isn’t short on destinations to choose from. He can join Western Conference teams that are poised to win immediately. He can also play GM while still playing hoops for LA (either LA team). He can join the Philadelphia 76ers, have a say in front office affairs and coaching decisions while still joining a team that’s on the verge of contention for many more years.
So, again... why would LeBron James come to Boston?
Having spent time in the 16-17 & 17-18 Celtics’ locker rooms, there’s a notable difference in the personalities that existed over the last 2 years. The lose and light environment that Isaiah Thomas brought quickly departed when Kyrie Irving arrived. The 2018 C’s were all business. They were clearly unified around a common goal of contending now, while still developing their talent that should be NBA Championship contenders for the next several years. Why would Danny Ainge jeopardize the great impact Kyrie Irving has had on the Celts on a short period of time? The meeting in itself can create major rifts and distrust between the front office and Kyrie.
Is it possible that LeBron is simple punking the Celtics and Kyrie (or Stephen A. Smith is)? Is it possible this is a ploy to create drama before next season even begins? Knock the C’s off-kilter? Make Kyrie distrust Danny Ainge?
This may be the case, unless...
Mike Gorman knew something we all don’t when he made the Kyrie statements on Celtics Beat. Possibly Danny Ainge is lacking confidence that Irving will re-sign in Boston. Ainge has earned fan and critics respect. There’s no doubt that Ainge will have assurances from Kyrie about re-signing, or not, and make his decision about taking LeBron’s meeting based on where Uncle Drew’s head is at.
Please don’t link me to “reports” that you heard people at Quicken Loans Arena adamant that Irving’s next destination will be the New York Knicks either. Just to put Celtics fans at ease, while covering opening night in Cleveland, OPERATIONS STAFF for the Q mentioned the Knicks to me then too. As a matter of fact, while heading to the arena to cover the game with Josue Pavon, an UBER DRIVER told us that Kyrie wants to be in New York too.
These are facts. The Knicks rumors originated last summer when New York was mentioned as a possible destination for Irving. The Kyrie/Knicks chatter is still being tossed around by salty Cavs fans/employees that are still in disbelief that anyone, let alone their most clutch superstar, would not want to play with LeBron.
I’m going to tell you the same exact thing I told the OPERATIONS STAFF and the UBER DRIVER on opening night: “Hey Cleveland, guess what! LeBron James is leaving!”
The most rational take on the LeBron/Kyrie/Celtics speculation is that it’s all just a rumor. I honestly think that Kyrie and Ainge are laughing it up at our expense.
So, I’ll say it again, LeBron James is never coming to Boston and THAT is the only thing that makes sense over the last week.
Gotta love silly season.
Check out what the CLNS’ Celtics/CelticsBlog Insiders had to say about LeBron coming to Boston here