How LeBron James Can Make the Tamper Team a Reality


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – You know the picture.

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Dwyane Wade in a Miami Heat jersey, after throwing a lane at his teammate LeBron James, arms outstretched, as James tries to tear the rim of the basket behind him.

This decade began with James and Wade's association in Miami, ushering in a new era of player empowerment and creating one of the most iconic couples in the history of the sport.

Fast forward to Sunday night, when the two former friends and teammates found themselves on the same side for the last time of this year's NBA All-Star game. Playing together on the LeBron team, they had one last chance to score a high point when Kevin Durant stole a pass early in the third quarter and threw it in front of Wade.

Wade threw the ball off the board. He ricocheted in the hands of a James spinning, who hit the balloon through the hoop.

A brilliant replica of the photo.

It was a small moment in a meaningless show match, but it's a moment that sums up the challenge James will face when he regains his job with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nine years ago, he chose to leave Cleveland and team up with Wade and Chris Bosh on the shores of Biscayne Bay, creating a team that has won two championships and reached four consecutive NBA finals. This summer, James must find someone to do what he's done at the time: choose to play with him and transform his team by claiming the title of champion.

He must find his next Dwyane Wade.

The LeBron team finished the all-star game 2019 in 89-55 in the 21:30 of the last game. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

That's what made this weekend so convincing. James has formed a team of gambling-related players by his side, either by joining his Lakers as free agents this summer, or through exchanges (in the case of Anthony Davis, in the last two weeks).

Due to his selections, Team LeBron's name was sarcastically replaced by Team Tampering.

Throughout this weekend – as well as 48 minutes of action that took place at the Spectrum Center, here in Queen City – every word, conversation and climax between James and one of the future stars The free agent of his team was analyzed to find clues about their collective future.

From Davis to Kevin Durant, from Kyrie Irving to Kawhi Leonard, from Klay Thompson to Damian Lillard, no matter who they talk to, home fans can spend the game dreaming about what they might look like in a Lakers. uniform.

And, no matter how much James tried to talk about the subject with disdain, it's hard to believe that he did not do the same thing. After all, the Lakers are 28-29 in approaching the last 25 games of the season, a brutal closing sequence with 18 games against current playoff teams. Worse still, the lingering fallout from the franchise is due to the failure of its Davis lawsuit.

It's one thing, though, that James can choose from a team of star players to play with him in a demonstration game. It's a great choice to play one or more of them in Los Angeles. And if that's the case, this weekend reminded us again of how James and the Lakers had a big challenge.

Reviewing other members of Team Tampering – as well as other future free agents – and examining the future of their basketball future quickly highlights the potential difficulties for James in Los Angeles.

Kevin Durant

We'll start with Durant, James's first choice and one of the few people on the planet who can credibly challenge him for the title of best player in the world.

During himself, he was talking about playing with James in an article by Bleacher Report in December..

"The hype surrounding LeBron comes from other people," Durant said. "He has so many fanboys in the media, even beat writers fear him, I'm like, we play basketball here, and it's not even about basketball at times." The world would not want to be in this environment because it is toxic, especially when the attention is drawn to the bulls – the attention, the fluff.This is not LeBron's fault "It's just the fact that there are so many groups that in the media like to stick to every word, get out of the way and let us play basketball."

Putting aside the media critics of Durant – something he has done a lot since, including this weekend – it's still hard to see his way to Los Angeles. If Durant leaves the Golden State Warriors this summer (there will be something more persuaded in the league than to happen – the belief that awaits him is that he will join the New York Knicks.

Kyrie Irving

So what about Irving?

He and James have recently repaired gates during a phone call. Last month, Irving surprised a crowd of journalists in Boston after a spectacular victory over the Toronto Raptors.

That said, along with the rumors that Irving is no longer as happy in Boston as in October, when he announced his intention to sign a new contract with the Celtics, this led to discussions about the fact that Irving could end up somewhere else next season.

Nevertheless, the Celtics think Irving will come back – especially if Boston can make an agreement with New Orleans to get Davis. The biggest hurdle to an ongoing deal – Davis not wishing to stay in Boston – disappeared Saturday when he said the Celtics figured, in fact, on his list of favorite destinations.

But if Boston does not get Davis – or Irving simply decides to leave – the Knicks are considered a far more likely destination than the reunion with James.

Anthony Davis

When New Orleans did not trade Davis this season, the Lakers window to convince him to reduce it considerably. Now, Boston can offer a whole lot more attractive than Los Angeles is able to put together. And if the Celtics win, Boston can give him a chance to win – which he believes is his top priority – as a team alongside Irving for the next ten years.

The only team that could possibly outbid the Celtics are the Knicks – but only if they manage to win the first pick in the lottery, and with it the opportunity to nominate Duke superstar, Zion Williamson. If that happens, Durant, Irving and Davis may find their way to the Knicks – a scenario that, for the moment, can only be seen as a feverish dream for hoop fans who have long suffered from the Big Apple. .

Kawhi Leonard

Leonard, meanwhile, is far from certain to be in Toronto after this season.

But while Leonard is intrigued by the possibility of coming back closer to home in Southern California, it's the other Staples Center team – the LA Clippers – who remains the big favorite to secure his services he's choosing to leave the Raptors.


Then there are guys who are considered almost sure to stay with their current teams – unless there is an unforeseen change in the landscape.

Klay Thompson James has long been considered an ideal partner – not to mention his father, Mychal, is the Lakers radio color analyst. But as long as the Warriors are not going to crush Thompson this summer – and, given the uncertainty surrounding Durant's future, they should not spoil him – Thompson should stay at Golden State.

As it is dark, the Charlotte Hornets are likely to be a real contender in the near future. Kemba Walker would like to go elsewhere. But he gave no indication, and as Charlotte would certainly have the opportunity to offer him the supermax deal this summer – a five-year deal worth more than $ 200 million – Walker seems destined to stay in Carolina North.

The same goes for Milwaukee Bucks, little striker Khris Middleton (Team Giannis) and the Philadelphia 76ers make the force Tobias Harris (All-Star scam). The Bucks are heading to their best season in decades and must give pleasure to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will make his own decision for his future next summer. This makes it difficult to see a scenario in which the Bucks would let Middleton walk, given that there are few, if any, paths to find an improvement for him this summer.

Philadelphia has dropped two first-round selections and a promising rookie from Landry Shamet to get Clippers' Harris on the trade deadline – a league-wide move not only to the Sixers this season, but also insurance. with regard to the future of the little before Jimmy Butler (All-Star 2018).

76ers general manager Elton Brand said the Greenler property had been renewed between Harris and Butler this summer. That said, doing it (probably on max contracts), with Joel Embiid's current max contract and an imminent Max contract extension for Ben Simmons, would allow Philadelphia to sink deep into the luxury tax.

If the Sixers do not keep both of them, Butler is considered the most likely to leave. Harris is stylistically more fit thanks to his elite shooting ability – not to mention Butler's short stay in Philadelphia since the deal was sometimes chaotic. But when Butler drew up his initial list of favorite destinations last fall before being traded to Philadelphia, the Lakers were not there.

Meanwhile, the teams that used to be – the Clippers, the Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets – will always have plenty of free space to sign it.

Nevertheless, Butler is considered the most realistic option that can be found in Los Angeles. The same goes for the Golden State Warriors Center DeMarcus Cousins (All-Star 2018), although he comes with his own risk, especially the torn left tendon tendon of Achilles which he has just returned.

Engaging in a long-term and highly lucrative transaction is a risky proposition for him. That said, it could be the best option for the Lakers.

And if the Lakers choose to repeat what they did this summer – by postponing cap space until 2020 – they face many problems. The first is that one of these young players, Brandon Ingram, would become a restricted free agent and would become significantly more expensive. The other is that if Davis stays with the team that trades him – which, if he lands in a good situation, should be considered a real possibility – the rest of this year's free agent class is hardly more attractive. as this year's class.

The Lakers and LeBron will hope the game played for Team Tampering The LeBron team will prove to be a metaphor for what will happen in July. After starting the game seemingly asleep and falling behind by 20 in the third quarter, James and his starband resumed the match in the second half, scoring 21 points to 3 in the last 21 minutes of the match, finally come out victorious.

"You put me on the floor, I love the competition," James said afterwards. "I am a competitor no matter what it is.

"I'm competing to see if I can get to that table first."

James then asked the moderator if anyone had given an interview before him.

When the answer was no, James said, "Do you see what I'm talking about?

"We see each other all the second half of the season."

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