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Before Loss, Stephen A. Smith Said LeBron James, Warriors Will Meet This Summer

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James looks up at the scoreboard during the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on Wednesday that the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James are going to have a free-agent conversation during the offseason.

Prior to Golden State's 110-102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Smith appeared on First Take and discussed the possibility of the Dubs having a Big Three of LeBron, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry:

Stephen A Smith @stephenasmith

LeBron James will be having a conversation with the Golden State Warriors this summer. https://t.co/hVZKgrpro7

Smith added that the Warriors, who have a 3-0 series lead, would likely have to part ways with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in order to make it happen.

Durant was asked about the possibility of the Warriors signing James on Wednesday, and he had a somewhat pointed response, according to Sam Amick of USA Today: "I don't think anybody gives a [expletive] about that. I think once the season and everything is over, everything starts over."

While Durant could technically sign elsewhere as a free agent, he told Amick that he plans on returning to the Warriors: "Everything, the money and stuff that's got to, the contract got to (be) worked out, but I plan on being here. I said that earlier this year. I didn't plan on anything else. But this is the NBA, and anything can happen. And I know that anything can happen, (because) I've been a part of this league for so long now."

The LeBron-to-Warriors rumors are nothing new, as they became a hot topic in February.

James shot them down, though, and insisted he was solely focused on the Cavs:

"It's nonsense, and it's a non-story. I think it's a discredit to what I'm trying to do here. It's a discredit to my teammates and the coaching staff here. My only focus right now is trying to figure out how we can become a championship-caliber team in these next few months. It's been so many stories about me in the last few months, in the last few days, about where I'm going and where I'm at and what place I'm in. I'm here, I'm right here, I'm right now and this is my present and this is where I'm at."

With the Cavaliers now one loss away from falling to the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the third time in four years, however, LeBron potentially leaving Cleveland in free agency is becoming a progressively bigger story.

James has essentially been a one-man band throughout the playoffs, and aside from his ties to the Cleveland area, there seemingly isn't much incentive to stay.

In March, Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported that LeBron is expected to consider the Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers in free agency.

The Warriors don't seem like a logical landing spot on the surface due to the current makeup of their roster, but if there is truly mutual interest between Golden State and James as Smith asserts, it isn't out of the question that Golden State could clear enough space to realistically sign him.

Such a move would arguably give the Warriors the three best players in the world, but they would also lack the depth that has helped make them so successful in recent years.

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