It takes more than one legitimate All-Star to win a championship; it’s been proven numerous times over the course of NBA history. Whether it’s Kareem, Magic and Worthy or Jordan, Pippen and Rodman, super teams often come in threes.
LeBron James has been a part of one such team, winning two NBA titles over four visits to the finals alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. But despite heading back home to Cleveland, he’s since batted the idea around of another, bigger, super team – consisting of four genuine NBA stars.
Speaking to Howard Beck from Bleacher Report, Lebron was quoted saying that he’d love to play alongside Wade once again, along with known associates Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.
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Is this just a pipe dream? Or could LeBron really bring together these four NBA stars onto a single roster and take on the rest of the league?
It would be foolish to completely bet against it.
Could we see a big four?
Like we stated earlier, most super teams consist of three main stars. This has been the case for decades with little evidence otherwise. It doesn’t matter if you look back at Wilt, Baylor and Wests of the late 60s or the likes of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Greens of today – there was always three major players.
But bringing four players together in such a fashion is practically unheard of – and it could prove tricky.
On paper it sounds like a match made in basketball heaven – constructed by former greats like Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, George Mikan and Darryl Dawkins toying with us from their basketball court in the clouds.
CP3 could run point, with Dwyane Wade keeping his seemingly timeless game at the two spot, whilst Lebron and Melo interchange at the forward positions. Throw a defensive minded center into the mix - with the willingness to take less than one shot a game - and you’ve got yourself a starting five capable of wowing the crowds.
In fact, they could win a heck of a lot of games as well.
LeBron himself is still one of the best five players in the league. Melo is a proven offensive juggernaut, whilst Wade and Paul have some of the best passing abilities in the game. That should culminate in a 60+ win season, and that’s without considering who’s backing them up from the bench.
Can the big four happen?
The biggest knife that hangs over the ever inflating big four balloon is that of contracts. Whilst James and Wade both have the ability to become free agents this summer (LeBron courtesy of a player option), Paul and Melo have no such luck.
Melo is tied down in New York until the end of the 2017-18 season, with an early termination option. Meanwhile, Chris Paul is stuck with the Clippers until the same year, once again with early termination a possibility.
This means that unless a trade happens (which is unlikely – and one which Melo has to green light due to his no trade clause), we won’t see this big four in one uniform until the 2018-19 season. That would make all four players veterans of the league, all of them the wrong side of 30 years of age.
Money is another major factor which could burst the big four bubble as well.
Each player is worthy of a max deal under the current NBA climate. In spite of this, Lebron has claimed that he’d take a pay cut to make a team like this happen – the question is whether his friends would be so willing, and how much they’re all willing to sacrifice.
All four players have made their millions already and are astute businessmen by all counts as well, so money shouldn't be a huge sell. But, with the new NBA TV money upping salary caps for teams to a whopping $108m over the next two seasons, if all four players took their current salary, the team wouldn’t have much left to dip into.
Realistically all four players could take cuts to the $10m-$15m mark, leaving around $60m to fill out the rest of the roster. That should be enough room for more than enough support for these four future NBA Hall of Famers.
So whilst money might be a problem now, it won’t be come the 2017-18 season – which is the year all four players could become available. Quite the coincidence...
Where would the Super Team Play?
This is arguably the most interesting question of the bunch, and one which is sure to cause uproar amongst the league if, or when, it happens.
James is well-known for his ability to make the switch between teams, whilst Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony have also headed to pastures new in previous seasons. This leaves Dwyane Wade as the only real straight shooter, having stuck with the Heat through thick and thin.
This means that he’s likely to be the guy drawing people to him as opposed to heading out – and why not?
Miami is a beautiful city which LeBron knows well and still frequently visits in his time off. It’s on the East Coast, which three of the four players have played within, and the climate is much friendlier than the likes of New York and Ohio. Plus, Wade will not want to sacrifice the heroic fan base he’s built at the American Airlines Arena.
Whilst New York, L.A. and Cleveland will all do their utmost to lure the stars in their direction, it seems a certainty that if this team is to come together, it will be in South Beach.
What do the Players say?
Unsurprisingly, Lebron got into a little bit of hot water after making the comments about the team over the All-Star break. Context should be taken in first though, as these quotes came during a league break. Although they do the current Cleveland roster a slight disservice, it’s not like LeBron did it to rile up Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Carmelo Anthony has also backed the idea, per the New York Post, although he clearly stated that it would be closer to retirement.
Dwyane Wade has been less receptive though, and has been coy about the possibility – instead focusing on his current job in Miami. Meanwhile, Chris Paul has yet to weigh in on the prospect of joining the other three players.
However, it seems that role players won’t be hard to come by either, with LeBron’s Cleveland playmate J.R. Smith already throwing his name into the hat for a spot on the roster.
"That would be dope. That'd be sick. I'd like to see it. I just hope they save me a spot and I'm on the team”. Smith said, per NY Daily News.
And if you were worried about who’d be guiding them from the bench, how does legendary 13-time NBA Champion, Phil Jackson sound?
Currently working alongside Carmelo Anthony in New York, Jackson was quick to jump on the bandwagon, stating that he’d come out of coaching retirement to lead the team’s bench.
We’re pretty sure that with this kind of set-up, even this year’s record setting Warriors could have themselves a tasty match-up. One which could eclipse any super team we’ve seen in NBA history.
Let’s just hope for everyone else’s sake, that this doesn’t happen, shall we?