In March, ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on the podcast Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective that LeBron James had "begun the recruiting" of Stephen Curry to the Los Angeles Lakers in case the Golden State Warriors superstar decided to leave the team when he became a free agent after the 2021-22 season (h/t Silver Screen & Roll).
The Athletic's Tim Kawakami asked Warriors majority governor Joe Lacob what he thought about those comments on Monday's episode of The TK Show. Lacob responded:
"Look, Steph Curry, if he really wanted to leave at the end of his contract, he's a free agent, he's earned the right, he can do it. I said that with Kevin Durant. I'm still friends with Kevin Durant and I still really like him. And I will always love him for what he did for this franchise. By the way, he took less money when he was here. He really helped us. We were able to get a couple of other players. … Players don't usually do that and he did that. So I have great respect and admiration for that for Kevin. And I would for Steph no matter what he does, too. He's done a lot for us, we've done a lot for him. I would hope that we provide the environment for him that he wants to be at for the rest of his [career]. …
"I'm certainly not worried about the guy you mentioned recruiting him. I don't think that's going to happen."
Outside Los Angeles, most NBA fans wouldn't approve of a James-Curry pairing.
The trio of James, Curry and Anthony Davis would perfectly suit one another and be incredibly difficult to beat, even if James will be 37 and Curry 34 next summer.
But James and Curry are the definitive rivals of their generation and faced each other in the NBA Finals four straight times. Curry won that head-to-head matchup 3-1.
From the 2009-10 season (Curry's first in the league) to 2015-16, James and Curry combined to win the MVP award five times in seven years: James three times and Curry twice.
They were also polar opposites on the court with styles of play that changed the game in profound ways.
James is the quintessential athlete with a blend of size, speed, strength, intelligence and vision that has never been duplicated. His ability to win as both a team's best scorer and facilitator evoked both Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. He's also been the leader of the player empowerment era, turning his on-court talents into superteams and a business empire off the court.
Curry, on the other hand, is the greatest shooter the league has ever seen, and the rest of the NBA has spent the past few years chasing the floor spacing and perimeter-oriented attack the Warriors perfected. The NBA has embraced the three-point shot and attempts close to the basket as the most efficient ways to score, and Curry is the face of that movement.
He has four of the top five seasons in three-pointers made.
When NBA historians look back on the great rivalries in the game, LeBron-Steph will be up there with Magic-Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain-Bill Russell. The two of them playing together would just feel wrong.