Super teams have been a trend for the last decade in the NBA. It all started with the Boston Celtics when they acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to team with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. The Miami Heat continued the trend when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined their pal Dwyane Wade in Miami. James took the Heat to four consecutive Finals, winning two championships there. James leaves Miami to form the next super team in Cleveland. Lakers attempted the same thing in 2012, when they acquired Steve Nash, Dwight Howard to go along with Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. Back to James, who is now playing in his second consecutive NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers, surrounded by two All-Star sidekicks in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
So how do the Clippers fall into this equation? What does James have to do with the Clippers? The answer is–everything. It’s not impossible for the Clippers to be the next super team. Not to get confused, the trio of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are not exactly a super team. If the stars (no pun intended) were to align, they could be one. Here is how it happens:
It all has to start with Golden State winning their second consecutive NBA title over James and the Cavs. Losing two Finals in a row would be maddening to any player, especially James who left a championships team for a second chance to restore Cleveland to glory. If he loses yet again, the realization might be that glory just can’t be achieved in Cleveland. Is he going to waste his prime years with a team that just can’t get over the hump? They gave him two All-Stars, but if that’s not good enough, then James has no choice but to start looking elsewhere.
Earlier this season there was a report of James being interested in reuniting with Wade and his other best pals Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Per Bleacher Report’s Howard Back, during All-Star Weekend James was quoted saying:
“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together,” James said of Anthony. “At least one, maybe one or two seasons, me, Melo, [Dwyane Wade], [Chris Paul], we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”
Maybe at the end of their careers, James said. Maybe sooner. One more ring chase, this time with everyone on board.
“It would be pretty cool,” James said. “I’ve definitely had thoughts about it.”
Before bounding away, he smiles and closes with a coy chirp: “We’ll see.”
So you say there is a chance? Could the Clippers be the team to unite James, Melo, Wade, and Paul? Yes, they could. This is how it happens:
Clippers would need to get a “wink, wink” agreement from the agents of James, Wade, and Anthony confirming that they desire to come to the Clippers. The Clippers would need to start unloading salaries. That would mean letting all their free agents walk. Hoping players like Cole Aldrich and Austin Rivers opt-out. Trade DeAndre Jordan to a team like the Celtics for multiple draft picks and little salary in return. Now onto the deals:
WADE & JAMES MOVES:
Wade decides against resigning in Miami and offers to take a low salary of around $10 million (so much for $10 millions being low amount for us non-athlete folks). James would have to do the unforeseeable and leave Cleveland…again. That might be another huge public relations hit for James, but he’s been through it before. If it means winning championships then it’s worth it. Just like Wade, James would have to take a $10 million-a-year deal. That’s a far drop from someone who is making more than double that amount ($22.9 mil). At this point in both of their careers they might be willing to do that with the crazy amount in endorsement deals they are making.
This move the Clippers might not be thrilled in making. Trading Blake Griffin for Anthony works money wise. It’s the fact that the Clippers would be trading away their franchise cornerstone player for an aging and declining star. They would have to do this deal to make the others happy. It’s worth it, if you are assured James and Wade are coming. On the Knicks end, they would do this trade in a heartbeat. Getting a young player with Griffin’s superstar potential would be a no-brainer.
PAUL STAYS HOME:
The final piece of the puzzle is the easiest one for the Clippers to fit. They already have Paul on the roster. No tinkering needs to be done there.
It’s complicated, but feasible. A lot has to come together. A team of James, Paul, Wade, and Anthony would be a powerhouse. There is no way that team wouldn’t be considered a front-runner to win it all. The shelf life would be limited, as all of these guys will be 30 or older by the start of next season. If I’m Doc Rivers I’d make all of this happen in a heartbeat, if possible. Forget about Durant or Westbrook trade, this is the best possible outcome the Clippers can dream up. If this dream somehow becomes reality, then James, Wade, Anthony, and Paul will be hoisting up the trophy next June–all in Clippers jerseys. It’s a Hollywood script come to reality–in Los Angeles.