Ted Green: LeBron James should consider the Clippers
I'll give you a second to stop laughing out loud. Finished? Good, now listen up.
Yes, I agree, it seems absurd. L.A. is Kobe's town. And why would the NBA's other most gifted, bankable superstar even look twice at the Clippers and all the tsurus, to use a Yiddish word, they bring to the table. Such as: Donald T. Sterling, the Curse and 30 years of ridiculous, forgettable, desultory history.
It's true, the Clippers have more baggage than American Tourister. The Clippers are so depressing, season tickets come with parking and Prozac.
Ah, but here's where the LeBron possibility (and hopefully this blog) become at least a little more intriguing.
In ascending order of importance, here are five great reasons why King James can and probably even SHOULD choose the Clip Joint as his free-agent destination this summer:
5. Leo, Denzel, maybe even Jack, they'd come to Clipper games too. The Clippers automatically become an "in" L.A. destination, a must-see, a must-attend, a happening, just like the Lakers.
4. LeBron and Kobe together would make Los Angeles and Staples Center the center of the basketball world and maybe even the entire sports universe.
2. Yeah, Kobe's the guy here now, but next year will be his 15th in the league, even 24 can't go forever; in three years, assuming the Curse doesn't get him, LeBron owns our city.
And here's the one that's really key:
1. LeBron comes here, he joins an already built team with genuine championship potential. In other words, NOT the Bulls or Knicks.
Yes, of course there are ifs, big ones, too. IF Blake Griffin recovers to become something like the next Karl Malone. IF Baron Davis decides he still likes to play. IF Sterling and his clown posse don't get in the way and screw things up, like they always have. And one no one talks about: IF the NBA and the Knish Commish, David Stern, would countenance Kobe and LeBron being in the same city.
But if Griffin is legit, you add LeBron to Davis, Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon and a cast of reasonably talented role players the Clippers already have in the fold, it's by far the best assemblage of talent that James is going to find in free agency. And it's ready-made, no building required.
Indeed, I hope I don't look back on this and have to admit it was the dumbest thing I ever wrote, but if you can for even a moment get past the fact they're the Clippers, and I know it’s a lot to ask, but why COULDN’T this group of players, with a healthy Griffin, win the NBA title in their very first year with LeBron?
I think they actually could.
So if this LeBron coming to L.A. quasi-fantasy has a chance in you-know-where of happening, here's how it has to go down:
The Clippers roll out the red carpet, making sure it's been steam-cleaned and not used at one of the dinners Sterling throws to honor himself. They take LeBron to dinner in Bev Hills. Matt Damon is there and so is Charlize Theron for recruiting help. Donald T., no disrespect intended, but in the interest of getting this done, you and Andy stay home. Too much of a chance for foot-in-mouth disease. They'll be in touch with you by cell.
Instead, you send two of the best and brightest and funniest emissaries you can find to warmly and gently convince LeBron that L.A. isn't just the place where he wants to be, it's the place he SHOULD be because it makes the most sense for both his business and his basketball.
Because they're the Clippers and names like Benoit Benjamin still haunt me to this day, I admit it's a longshot. But it would be something, wouldn't it? And because he's LeBron, it might actually work.
-- Ted Green
Green formerly covered the Lakers and NBA for the L.A. Times. He is currently senior sports producer for KTLA Prime News.
Photo: LeBron James. Credit: Ron T. Ennis / MCT