LeBron James is getting ready to play his 20th game with the Los Angeles Lakers, but was there ever a scenario where he could wound up somewhere else? Say, the Denver Nuggets, perhaps?
Well, no, but still. There was that time they aggressively pursued a meeting and the internet all had a good laugh about it:
With Jokic and Barton on board, the Denver Nuggets will turn their attention to one more free agent: LeBron James. The Nuggets have been in contact with James's agent and will aggressively pursue a meeting.— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) July 1, 2018
(Narrator: They didn’t get a meeting.)
James was asked about if he ever considered the Nuggets after the Lakers’ shootaround on Tuesday afternoon and, well, the exchange was pretty great (emphasis mine):
Was there every any conversations with the Nuggets before you moved to L.A.?
LeBron: (laughs) :The owner of the team is a very dear friend of mine, so he discussed it a couple times to me, and also he sent me those throwback jerseys I think they’re wearing tonight. The white ones. The white with the mountains ... He said ‘you’d look good in one of these.’ But we’ve been on vacation, things of that nature. We have a great friendship, but I didn’t give it much thought.”
If you’re whoever leaked that the Nuggets were “aggressively” going after James, that one had to sting a little.
Here’s the video:
LeBron James was asked if he ever gave thought to joining the Nuggets in free agency. He said he didn’t, but he talked about being recruited by Josh Kroenke, who James calls a good friend: pic.twitter.com/TK22t1bv6u— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) November 27, 2018
James tried his best to keep it together, but his chuckles are about as close as he’ll ever get to being tripped up by a question. Still, as has become custom with LeBron in these situations, he said all the right things so as to avoid coming off as disrespectful to Josh Kroenke, whom he actually has vacationed with before.
Look, Denver does offer some intriguing options to James on the court. He and Nikola Jokic probably wouldn’t be particularly good (or even decent) on defense, but the two incredible passers would more than make up for that with their ability to create on offense.
And as much has been made of the Lakers’ young core of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart potentially fitting well with James, Denver has some very nice young pieces in Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and others. The fit would have been quite natural.
All that said, though, James was very obviously interested in what Los Angeles offered off the court, and those same options are simply not available in Denver.
Still, as James’ Sprite commercials have said, it’s the thirstiest time of the year, so I can’t knock the question, even if James seems to have put less thought towards Denver than I did into writing this article.