By now, you may have already heard that ESPNLosAngeles.com pulled an article by Arash Markazi they posted this morning about what it’s like to party with LeBron James. Most of the story — which has been screencapped on Deadspin — seems pretty innocuous. It reveals LeBron to be your standard A-List celeb with all the hangers-on and the sense of entitlement we’ve come to expect.
Why did the story get pulled? My guess is that it was because of these two paragraphs, which make the unattributed claim that LeBron really wants to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul.
Seated to the right of James is Chris Paul, whose brother, C.J., is seated across from him. The New Orleans Hornets point guard has seen how James has positioned himself to win a championship by signing with the Miami Heat and joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and has reportedly considered a similar move himself.
The truth is, in James’ dream world, the duo he would love to play with for the next decade would be Wade and Paul, his two closest friends in the NBA. Paul has been like a brother to James since the two were in Las Vegas four years ago for USA Basketball training camp, when as a rookie he carried James’ and Wade’s bags to and from the team bus.
This is an interesting and potentially explosive claim by Markazi, since it implies that Bosh isn’t part of LeBron’s closest circle of friends and may not factor into his long-term plans. Say what you want about whether or not a LeBron-Wade-Bosh trio is a more potent combo than LeBron-Wade-Paul, but it’s become evident that LeBron wants things done his way all the time — regardless of whether or not it’s the best way.
Considering that Paul isn’t happy in New Orleans, Markazi’s claim suggests a potential scenario where the Heat could offer Bosh in a trade for Paul at some point in the future. The Hornets may not be crazy about that offer since their second-best player, David West, plays the same position as Bosh. On the other hand, they’re probably not going to get offered a better player in return for Paul, and West could certainly be traded elsewhere.
This is all speculation piled upon speculation – but if you think it sounds too crazy, wouldn’t you have thought the idea of LeBron, Wade and Bosh all playing together in Miami was crazy a few months ago? That ESPN story got killed for a reason, and you can be pretty sure that somebody in LeBron’s camp had something to do with it. If I’m Chris Bosh, I’m not feeling too secure with my place next to the throne right now.
A couple of related facts in closing: The NBA issued a memo to all the teams yesterday stating that “no team should be having communications with Chris Paul or his agent or representative about a potential trade for Paul that have not been authorized in advance by the New Orleans Hornets” and threatens penalties for any such communications that could potentially include “suspension of the offending person, prohibition of the offending team from hiring the person being tampered with, forfeiture of draft picks and individual and/or team fines of up to $5 million.” As for the Heat’s ability to trade Bosh, the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement states that a player can’t be traded until three months after signing a contract or December 15th of that season, whichever is later.