In an upcoming episode of “The Shop,” LeBron James said of all the players in the league, he most would want to play with Stephen Curry. On Thursday’s episode of “Get Up,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said people should pay attention to LeBron’s actions, not his words. LeBron has picked Luka Doncic three times for his teams during All-Star weekend and has gone out of his way to praise the young superstar. But do any of these players want to play with LeBron?
“The best way you can see how LeBron feels about people is who he drafts in his All-Star draft. … He’s drafted Luka Doncic all three years he’s been an All-Star.”
.@WindhorstESPN says to keep the idea of LeBron and Luka teaming up in your back pocket 👀
"The best way you can see how LeBron feels about people is who he drafts in his All-Star draft. … He's drafted Luka Doncic all three years he's been an All-Star." pic.twitter.com/L5l9KIReSj
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) April 7, 2022
LeBron might be the greatest player of all time. But he will be 38 next season, his 20th in the league. Why would Luka or even Steph want to team up with him at this stage?
When LeBron James joins a team he takes up all the oxygen in the room. He controls personnel decisions and is the biggest and brightest star. That wouldn’t be the case with Steph or Luka. LeBron would have to join their teams, where they are the entrenched power.
Nevermind the question as to LeBron taking a backseat. Would those stars even want LeBron, and all that comes with that, in their respective universes?
In 2018 Kevin Durant, then a member of the Golden State Warriors, said playing with LeBron is like being in a toxic environment.
“So much hype comes from being around LeBron from other people,” Durant said. “He has so many fanboys in the media. Even the beat writers just fawn over him. I’m like, we’re playing basketball here, and it’s not even about basketball at certain points. So I get why anyone wouldn’t want to be in that environment because it’s toxic.”
That was four years ago, when for some players it still might be worth it. At this stage, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
At least in years past you could feel confident you have a legitimate shot at competing for a championship. That’s no longer the case with LeBron. Yes he’s still very, very good. But he is injured more frequently, and the amount you’ll have to pay him with max players already on the roster will handcuff your team.
Then there is the hoopla and drama as LeBron continues to make history as “the oldest player ever to x, y, z.” If you are a peer, it’s hard to imagine wanting to deal with that.
If you’re a young player trying to establish yourself in the league, playing with LeBron might not be good for your overall development. Particularly if you are a lead ball-handling or ball-dominant player.
This is the twilight of LeBron’s career. Chasing titles looks like a thing of the past, unless some tremendous luck befalls him. His focus should be on getting recovered and prepared this offseason for his last year under contract in Los Angeles. If Anthony Davis can also get right, they can give luck a chance.