The relationship between Steph Curry and LeBron James has evolved drastically over the years. For the latter half of the last decade, Curry and James had heated battles in the NBA Finals, in which Curry got the best of James 3-1.
James moving to the Western Conference was supposed to strengthen that rivalry, but it hasn’t — in fact, it’s had the opposite effect. The prime example of that came during All-Star Weekend in February, when Curry and James seemed to be having a good time sharing a team for the first time in their careers.
That could have been just a display of mutual respect, but Brian Windhorst of ESPN hinted that it was more than that on an episode of his podcast, “The Hoop Collective,” in March:
“LeBron has obviously put the full-court press on, not the full-court press, but LeBron has obviously begun the recruiting of Steph, just in the event that he wouldn’t extend and that somehow he would become a free agent and that the Lakers would have a swing at him.”
Whether that was reporting, informed speculation or just a guess by Windhorst, that comments has made its rounds around the NBA — it even got around to Joe Lacob, the majority owner of the Golden State Warriors, by way of Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.
In the interview, Lacoob sounded confident that Curry will sign an extension to stay with the Warriors when the time comes, but he said he’d support Curry if he decided to leave:
What does Lacob think of reports from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that LeBron James has essentially been recruiting Curry to the Lakers for months now?
“Look, Steph Curry, if he really wanted to leave at the end of his contract, he’s a free agent, he’s earned the right, he can do it,” Lacob said. “I said that with Kevin Durant. I’m still friends with Kevin Durant and I still really like him. And I will always love him for what he did for this franchise. By the way, he took less money when he was here. He really helped us. We were able to get a couple of other players. … Players don’t usually do that and he did that. So I have great respect and admiration for that for Kevin. And I would for Steph no matter what he does, too. He’s done a lot for us, we’ve done a lot for him. I would hope that we provide the environment for him that he wants to be at for the rest of his. …
However, Lacob expressed serious doubt that Curry would ever entertain teaming up with James:
“I’m certainly not worried about the guy you mentioned recruiting him. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Maybe Lacob is right. After all, Curry has been on his team for over a decade. If there’s any owner in the NBA that knows what Curry’s head is at, it’s Lacob.
Even if Lacob is wrong, it would take a ton of financial restructuring on the Lakers’ end to get Curry from The Bay to L.A., assuming Rob Pelinka is going to hand out multi-year contracts this summer. But in the off chance that:
- Curry does want to come to L.A. and
- The Lakers think they can make it happen
... Lakers in four.