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Blue Sky Dreams: Lebron To The Celtics

Lebron James, you know that guy? The greatest player on the planet currently, and the one constantly debated with Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time? Great, now that we are on the same page as to who we are talking about, we can dive right in. On Tuesday during First Take on ESPN, Stephen A Smith dropped a subtle bombshell on the Cleveland crowd behind him: Lebron James will have free agency discussions with Golden State, Houston, and Boston among other teams. For what has seemed like nothing other than a pipe dream of Lebron in a Celtics uniform, may actually become a reality? Could it be? More importantly, should it be?

Since the news dropped, local sports stations like 98.5 The Sports Hub have ran with it. Shockingly, fans seem conflicted. On the one hand, we would be getting the best player in the league, even as he ventures into his mid-thirties. On the other hand however, what would the cost be of getting a player like Lebron James?

The first obstacle is of course money. The Celtics would need to reorganize their roster in order to fit the cap hit that a player the caliber of James would require. By reorganize, we are basically talking completely dismantling their roster for the second straight year, just to make way for a player who plays a position that they are already pretty strong at. Yes, Lebron James is the best player in the League, but he is primarily a small forward. At the position, the Celtics already have Gordon Hayward (signed for max money), and the now up and coming star Jayson Tatum. Signing Lebron would almost seem redundant if the team were looking to have him play the small forward position. That being said, this could work if the intent is to start Lebron at power forward. As the roster is currently constituted, the Celtics have a large hole when it comes to a serviceable power forward. While both Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris performed admirably last year, Lebron James they are not. If Lebron James’ desire is to win, and he takes a little less to do so, the Celtics could be looking at a starting five next year composed of Al Horford, Lebron James, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown, and Kyrie Irving… or would they?

Let’s take a trip back through time to the offseason of 2017. Rumors were circling around Cleveland that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Lebron James’ shadow. Will anything have changed just a year later? Signing Lebron, would likely require trading Kyrie Irving. There are several arguments to be made for and against this. On one hand, you would get tremendous value for a player like Kyrie Irving, on the other he is almost 7 years younger than Lebron and if healthy would prolong the window for the green team longer than the next 3-4 years. Health is a major concern for Kyrie though. While yes he is younger than Lebron, it is hard to ignore that Kyrie has played more than 70 games in a season just once in his career, while Lebron does this consistently. It is also difficult to assume health when Kyrie Irving has been pained by injuries since he was in college. While he is younger, the wear and tear on Kyrie’s knees may ultimately shorten the window anyway.

There are several reasons that the Celtics should do whatever it takes to get Lebron, guaranteed championships included, but even more reasons not to. The Celtics made the conference finals for the second straight year without their two best players. If everything remains unchanged, it is easy to assume that the additions of Hayward and Irving back into the lineup would be enough not only to get by a Lebron James led Cavaliers, but also challenge Durant and the Warriors. Beyond that, the biggest reason to not sign Lebron for the Celtics, is because its much more satisfying to beat Lebron. For all his greatness, Lebron James with his antics on the court and his personality off the court, is one of the biggest heels in the game. It is much more satisfying, from a fan perspective, to beat him than to cheer for him.

All things said, as a fan I would probably be excited to have Lebron on the Celtics. It represents tremendous growth in the franchise in just the last three years attracting the biggest free agent signing in franchise history with Al Horford, to signing Gordon Hayward, and now Lebron James. However, the Celtics already have a successful young roster and there is no need to ruin that to sign Lebron. As a fan base, we would much rather root against him, then for him.

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