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February 5, 2014

Report: Clippers Biggest Threat To Land LeBron

by Jared

Isn’t everyone interested in LeBron James.

In a piece written by Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, LeBron Jame’s decision won’t be anything like it was in 2010, and that has the L.A. Clippers dreaming of a James-CP3 partnership.

According to reports, the Clippers are examining the possibilities, and the neccessary moves to land LeBron James if and when he opts of his current deal.

The Heat, one of the most thorough and thoughtful organizations in the league, are quite aware the Clippers could end up being a competitor if James elects to opt out. Perhaps the most serious competitor of all.

“This time is going to be different,” a source close to James said about James’ view of free agency. “If LeBron decides to look at other options it won’t just be teams with cap space. He has 30 options if he wants them.”

The Clippers don’t have the outright cap space to land James, and that could provide some dialouge for a possible sign and trade involving Clippers star Blake Griffin.

Unlike the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cavs — two teams that have been mentioned as suitors for James this summer — the Clippers will not have open cap space. They will not have the cap space to sign James as a maximum-level free agent. It would require a sign-and-trade if James ever got serious about the option. In short, it would take the Heat’s cooperation.

For this reason, the Clippers are not on the national radar as a potential location for James if he decides to look around. It is unconventional to consider it. But what the Heat did to land James four years ago was not conventional, either. They were able to make some remarkable last-minute trades — a detail that largely goes overlooked in history — then convinced three stars in their primes to take pay cuts so they could play together. That is also a feat that remains unmatched by any of their peers.

The one constant in these discussions that can’t be ignored is James’ friendship with Chris Paul, and his respect for Doc Rivers as man and coach.

The James contingency has been examined by the Clippers, sources told ESPN. The Heat, one of the most thorough and thoughtful organizations in the league, are quite aware the Clippers could end up being a competitor if James elects to opt out. Perhaps the most serious competitor of all.

Primarily this is because of James’ relationships with Paul and Rivers. Paul is one of James’ best friends and the two have talked about playing with each other since they were in high school, when they met on the AAU and prep All-Star circuits. Paul is godfather to James’ son Bryce and they were in each other’s weddings.

James respects Rivers perhaps more than any coach he hasn’t played for, a side effect of playing four playoff series against Rivers when he was the coach of the Celtics. James developed a strong dislike for many of the Celtics players, but with each year he grew more fond of Rivers as an adversary.

Only time will tell, and the speculation is more for entertainment right now than anything.  This is definitely shaping up to be an interesting summer for sure.

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