Last summer, at the height of all the free agency speculation, a report surfaced from Stephen A. Smith of ESPN about LeBron James reaching out to Kevin Durant to try to convince him to come to the Los Angeles Lakers. Durant vehemently denied the report and that was just about that.
Fast-forward to a few months from then, and a few choice words from Draymond Green, and it seems like a matter of when Durant leaves the Warriors rather than if. Brian Windhorst of ESPN wrote about what that meant for the league and had an interesting tidbit about that aforementioned rumored text (emphasis mine):
This reality is discomforting within the Warriors. You think Green hadn’t been contemplating it long before his rant spilled out in fury earlier this week? You think owner Joe Lacob’s joking about Durant signing when he handed him his ring on opening night isn’t based in some genuine concern? You think James’ checking in with Durant about whether he’d want to sign with the Lakers this past summer was only a throwaway flier?
What’s that you say, Brian? LeBron actually did reach out to Durant?
I wrote this back when Durant denied James having texted him and stand by it.
Doesn’t Durant seem like the kind of guy who would smudge the truth a little bit just to prove a point with someone he has a history with as he does with Smith simply out of spite though? This isn’t to call him a liar or anything like that. I have no idea whether James sent a text to Durant. If I had to guess, I’d probably say James back-channeled a feeler as to how Durant might think about the possibility, but it would be only that — a guess.
I’ll put it this way: James would be remiss not to try to find out what the chances might be that Durant might be open to teaming up on the Lakers. Given the way the NBA operates now, it’s just really hard to believe no communication occurred.
This idea that James, who does homework on his homework’s homework, would never have reached out — or had someone else from his camp reach out — is absolutely insane.
Durant is one of precious few players who can legitimately make the case that his game can reach the same heights as LeBron’s. You honestly think James wouldn’t be doing everything in his power to see if he can get Durant away from his top competition and onto his same team to level the playing field? Come on.
It was only a matter of time until the Lakers were dragged into this news cycle of the Warriors kinda/sorta hating each other. The stakes are simply too high for James not to try to figure out what his chances might be at convincing Durant to leave Golden State for the Lakers.
And we know Magic Johnson would “love that.”
This story isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but for fans of the Lakers, it definitely got quite a bit more interesting.