A 'LeBron to New Jersey by Way of Wall's Kentucky' Exercise
But really, what's the fun in that scenario? And today brings us a perfect vision to lay out an unlikely but forseeable path that nets (no pun intended) LeBron in Brooklyn in two years. And the path to the King taking New York by storm? It leads through the great state of Kentucky, where James made an appearance.
That's a video of LeBron doing the "Y" to finish out "K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y" at today's Vanderbilt-Kentucky game. He was in attendance because Kentucky was wearing his LBJ23 shoes for the first time. Of course, that's far from the only connection. Close personal friend and basketball ... entity (?) William Wesley is a known friend of head coach John Calipari. Presumably through that relationship, Calipari has become friends with James.
But it's the other connection that is the subject of this little extrapolation. James is a noted "fan" and close personal friend of UK freshman John Wall, the near-unanimous first overall pick projection. Wall is considered a franchise-type player and whoever lands that player will have a fantastic point guard that they can build around. But the James-Wall connection leads itself to a pretty interesting notion if you step back and see the big picture.
The New Jersey Nets are a near-mathematical lock for the No. 1 spot in the lottery. That only leaves them with a 25 percent chance of landing Wall, but that's still a better chance than any other team in the league will have. So let's say the Nets do in fact land Wall, which makes Devin Harris superfluous. The Nets will then have one of the best players to come out of college in the last five years (some consider him the best), oodles and oodles of cap space, a starting-caliber point guard to trade, and cap room beyond belief. The Nets will likely be in New Jersey until 2012, when they will move to the new Barclays center in Brooklyn, making it instantly one of the most marketable teams in the league. You're seeing this, because you saw it when you read the headline.
New Jersey: Wall: LeBron: Brooklyn.
But the Nets are terrible! They're the worst team in the league! They're the team with the worst winning percentage. But they feature a good-to-great starting center in Brook Lopez, depth at guard in Chris Douglas-Roberts and Courtney Lee, and oh, yeah, another late first round draft pick from Dallas. So you've got a foundation, the best player in the draft, you're moving in two years to the biggest market on earth, and all the money you can have to throw at James. James can love Cleveland all he wants, but that sounds like a very attractive offer. That's before you bring the possibility of Wade joining him somewhere for less money. The Nets would be able to give both players, or James and another free agent (Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire) enough money to make a slight paycut not so horrid. Their new billionaire Russian owner certainly sounds like he's willing to put the money forth to build a winner. They have Yi Jianlian to cash in on the Chinese market, which is huge.
And all of it bound by John Wall. James is a savvy enough businessman to plant the seeds early. He releases shoes with New York Knicks colors to endear himself to the city, though the Knicks won't be in a position to provide as solid of a foundation. He and his buddy Wade (or another free agent of choice) take a franchise to its new home and build an empire in the cultural center of the world. They'll be able to take their pick of coaches. He'll have a good friend John Wall running point, a solid young team that can grow around him, and still be paid like a true superstar. We're not talking a good basketball team. We're talking a global icon fueled by economic, cultural, and basketball excellence never before seen. The hype of that team would shake Madison Square Garden to its foundation. It would provide a contender for the best player on earth not only in the near future, but for the foreseeable one. And he just happens to show up for a game with the predicted draft pick of the team with a great chance to land him in one of the biggest markets?
I started this by saying there are millions of ways this could not work out. How about Cleveland winning a championship, making it near-impossible for James to leave the fans of his home, the team that drafted him. How about Miami, who will likely enter the race with just as much money. How about the sheer unlikelihood of any star taking less money, something which almost never happens in professional sports. You've got the likelihood of Wall going to New Jersey (25 percent again). You've got the Knicks possibly pulling a rabbit out of his hat. You've got a million reasons why this could not work out.
But we know three things. We know LeBron has stated his desire to be a global icon. We know John Wall is the best college prospect since Kevin Durant (at least). And we know both will be within the grasp of the Nets starting in June.
Maybe not. Maybe LeBron was just clowning around for a friend. Maybe he was just selling shoes. Maybe there's no pattern to examine, no big plan in play.
I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.