As general managers from small-market teams and New Orleans Pelicans head coach allege LeBron James violated the NBA’s tampering rules with comments about wanting Anthony Davis to join him on the Los Angeles Lakers, the game’s best player dug his heels even more into the ground.
Following the Lakers’ win over Davis and the Pelicans, James was asked if he felt as though he misstepped with the remarks given the reaction they’ve elicited. “Wrong?” James responded. “No. Of course not. What did I do? Anything I say will generate something.”
James did concede his fawning for Davis was not done with the intent to set off a fire storm. He then went into a calculated explanation as to why it’s much ado about nothing.
“Ask me if I would like to play with Kevin Durant. Ask me right now,” James said. “Absolutely,” he answered when posed with the possibility.
“Ask me if I would like to play with Jimmy Butler. Ask me right now,” James continued. “Absolutely.
“Ask me about Kyrie Irving, Giannis. Ask me about Embiid, Ben Simmons, go ahead. All of them. Luka Doncic. Ask me right now. Come on, guys. It’s not rocket science. These are great players. I would love to play with a lot of great players.
“That’s just who I am. People get caught up in bunches and wish they could control what you say. And they can’t control me. At all. And I play by the rules.”
The Lakers are expected to purse an All-Star come 2019 free agency, when the likes of Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are due to reach the open market. Signing Butler may be a long shot, however, as he reportedly did not include the Lakers on his list of destinations during the time he was seeking a trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
While James’ bold demeanor may further anger some, it still would appear unlikely that the NBA would take action. They’ve exercised more leniency with players discussing others in the league, and James also has his stature and reputation backing him.
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