The rumblings of LeBron James to the Warriors are alive and well.
James, at 39, said he will have to take time following the Nuggets’ 4-0 sweep of the Lakers to consider his future, with retirement reportedly on the table.
But if he does stick around, might he want to make one last push at a championship elsewhere. Perhaps somewhere further north?
Jovan Buha, Lakers writer for The Athletic, joined Murph and Mac on Friday to discuss the potential for James to join the Warriors.
He thinks LeBron to the Bay could be in play:
I think it’s certainly possible. I would definitely put them, if you were looking at realistic alternatives to him playing for the Lakers, I think the Warriors have to be in the top two or three.
I think if you study LeBron James’ career, when he has these types of losses — 2010, they lose in the second round to Boston, he leaves that summer to Cleveland, 2014, they lose in five in the Finals to San Antonio, he goes back to Cleveland from Miami and then 2018, they get swept in the Finals by Golden State and he goes to LA.
I think you’ve kind of seen it’s been every few years, with now him kind of breaking that exception with LA where he’s been there for five years, but I think he’s kind of taking this loss hard. He basically had a 40-point triple-double in Game 4 and that still wasn’t good enough to even get a game in the series.
If James does come back and want out, he thinks the Warriors “would be at or near the top of that list.” The Cavaliers — who finished fourth in the Easy and Buha said need a forward — are the only other franchise outside of the Lakers that might makes sense.
That said, he has a hard time seeing James leave Los Angeles.
“On paper, I feel like LA just makes the most sense still with his family having roots here now, having a couple houses, having his son now going to USC,” Buha said. “He is other son is now transferring high schools in the LA area, so I just think with him being who he is and his family being as important as it is to him, it would be tough for him to be in another city. So I still think LA is the overwhelming favorite.”
If James were to leave, he’d be bringing a $46.9 million base salary at age 39 along with a $50.65 million player option the following season. Acquiring him would require the Warriors likely moving both Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole, probably with draft picks and/or other young assets like Jonathan Kuminga.
Listen to the full interview above. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com