National Basketball Association

LeBron James reportedly wants Stephen Curry to join the Los Angeles Lakers

March 31

The NBA is a keep up or keep stepping kind of league.

The defending NBA champions, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, know that all too well.

Despite bringing L.A. its first NBA title since 2012, the Lakers don't appear content to rest on their laurels. And the latest rumor about whom James is buttering up to potentially join the squad is a doozy.

Stephen Curry joining the Lakers would be a major NBA bombshell, but it's one ESPN's Brian Windhorst floated on his "Hoop Collective" podcast.

Without a doubt, Curry has been synonymous with the Golden State Warriors' success in recent years.

Since the Warriors selected him seventh overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-3 guard has led Golden State to three titles while collecting two NBA MVP awards and setting numerous records along the way.

Times have been leaner lately for the Warriors, who went 15-50 last season after losing in the 2019 Finals.

The Warriors have improved to start 23-24 this season, but a preseason injury to Klay Thompson derailed their hopes before the campaign really even began.

Inconsistent performances and a middle-of-the-road record for the Warriors seem to have Curry unsettled at the very least.

Player movement and "superteams" are all the rage in the NBA.

Look no further than the Brooklyn Nets, a team that has added James Harden, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge to the roster since the start of the season.

For a team that entered the 2020-21 season with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant already in the fold, that's a lot of additional star power. But except for the financial ramifications, it's difficult to make a case — especially to fans — that a team can have too many stars. Such is the arms race in today's NBA.

It makes sense then that James would be exploring any avenue to boost his squad's ranks. And where better to do that than the All-Star game?

James drafted Curry for Team LeBron with his second pick of the All-Star Draft, and the two shared the floor for the first time after battling for years on opposite ends.

To say James relished the experience might be underselling it.

Adding to the intrigue of James' rumored overtures to Curry is the Warriors star's contract situation. He's eligible for a huge extension this summer and would otherwise become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season.

To hear Nick Friedell, who has been covering the Warriors for ESPN since the 2018-19 season, tell it, there's no way Curry's signature doesn't wind up on an extension.

"Steph's not going anywhere. He has only ever talked about how much it means to him to play with one team. ... He's staying, for at least the foreseeable future."

Shannon Sharpe of "Undisputed" believes Curry to be a Warriors lifer, too, though he admitted it would be fun to imagine "Chef" Curry running alongside LeBron in purple and gold.

There are seeds of doubt in Nick Wright's mind, however.

The "First Things First" host questioned why — if Curry is so dedicated to Golden State — the seven-time All-Star didn't sign a previously available three-year, $156 million extension.

"If he's 100 percent staying, I'm just interested ... why he didn't sign the three-year extension a few months ago. You might say, 'Well, that's because he can get an extra year and an extra $58 million.' I don't think Steph is trying to squeeze for $58 million when he's 37 years old. He could've signed this extension already and didn't. That, to me, is telling."

All in all, it seems that even with James' pitch to Curry, the Golden State guard looks more likely than not to stay put.

But can anyone fault James for making an attempt?

Shooters shoot, after all.

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