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LeBron James Rumors: Warriors Could Meet with SF If They Create Max-Salary Slot

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 15: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles the ball against Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on January 15, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

If you thought the Golden State Warriors couldn't possibly get any better this upcoming offseason, well, think again.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com, if the Warriors "can create a max-salary slot this offseason, the defending NBA champions could position themselves to secure a meeting with LeBron James."

He added, "Out of respect for the Warriors' winning culture, James would listen if Golden State explored ways to clear the necessary cap space, sources said."

Suffice to say, NBA Twitter had a few thoughts on the report: 

Dane Carbaugh @danecarbaugh

LeBron going to Golden State would be the one thing to make Michael Jordan lace it up again at age 55 either to join him on the Warriors or try to beat them with Frank Kaminsky and Michael Carter-Williams

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM

@ChrisBHaynes When Lakers Nation sees @ChrisBHaynes report that LeBron James could meet with Golden State Warriors during free-agency. https://t.co/BUZnRBTAH2

Josiah Johnson @KingJosiah54

NBA Twitter if LeBron comes to the Warriors https://t.co/1XSO2SdZFT

Born Salty @cjzero

"All you gotta do is take a little less money and we ALL on team Lebron" https://t.co/TkRwpI5yJs

So, how realistic is such a scenario?

It's feasible, though there are a lot of moving pieces.

The first key would be getting Cleveland to agree to a sign-and-trade centered upon sending Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala to match James' salary, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. Kevin Durant would also need to decline his player option and take another pay cut, as Haynes noted, while the Dubs would likely have to trade Shaun Livingston.

From there, the team would have to fill out its roster with cheap veterans seeking a championship.

The question for the Warriors would be this: Would combining James with Durant, Steph Curry and Draymond Green be worth gutting the depth and sacrificing chemistry?

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For most teams, the answer would be a no-brainer: If you can add James, you do it. But Golden State is already the best team in the league without him. Shaking up its core in such a way would come with risks.

On the other hand, signing James would mean one of the team's competitors couldn't get him and pair him with a player such as Paul George this summer. And James' well-rounded style of play would seemingly fit well next to Curry and Durant.

Then again, there could be questions about who takes the shots in crunch time or who would emerge as the team's leader. James, Durant and Curry have won seven of the last nine MVPs, after all. There would be an adjustment period.

But if it clicked, the Warriors would decimate teams. It wouldn't be fair.

Add it all up, and it still feels like a long shot. But when reports first emerged that Golden State could make a run at Durant two years ago, that felt like a long shot, too. The Warriors have to be considered a potential landing spot for James at this point—a terrifying thought for the rest of the NBA.

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