Did LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers feign interest in Dwyane Wade only to get him to sign with the Chicago Bulls, and set a chain reaction that results in Kevin Durant never leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, unable to sign with the Golden State Warriors? Conspiracy theory loves are loving this idea.
So what’s this theory all about? Well, basically, it’s kind of like the reverse episode on Seinfeld. By getting the Chicago Bulls to sign Wade, LeBron James creates a chain reaction that results in Kevin Durant never leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, never joining the Golden State Warriors.
The league moratorium is lifted, and players who agreed to deals in the first week since free agency began can actually back out of them, as DeAndre Jordan famously did last year, screwing the Dallas Mavericks in the process. And so, Wade signs with the Bulls, which makes Hassan Whiteside realize he made a big mistake: He re-signed with the Heat on a four-year, $98 million contract. But he can walk away from that, and decides to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, before the set of their deals becomes official.
What deals? One signing of Harrison Barnes on a similar, max deal ($95 million for four years) and maybe more importantly, agreeing to trade with the Golden State Warriors for Andrew Bogut. With both of these moves cancelled, Barnes remains a free agent, and Bogut goes back to the Warriors. Result? They don’t have the cap space to sign Durant, and he stays in Oklahoma City. When James and Wade were vacationing together and meeting later on, it was all about setting off a chain of events to stop Durant from joining the Warriors and create the super team.
There are holes in the theory – Barnes signing or not with the Mavericks doesn’t make a difference, the only thing that matters is that Bogut gets traded to the Mavericks. And even if the Mavs cancel the deal, the Warriors will find someone else to take it. They’ll take anything in return, and give away a pick or maybe two to make it work. There are general managers and execs around the league who won’t do it just because of how strong it’ll make the Warriors with Durant, but for a player like Bogut, on $11 million a season, they’ll find a taker.
Setting conspiracies aside, some things can’t be stopped. Wade is joining the Bulls, which is something everyone seems to support because how the Heat “mistreated” him, everyone is hating on Durant joining the Warriors because it’s “cheating”, he’s taking the “easy way out”, and he’s “betraying the Thunder”. At the bottom of it all, it’s about what’s good for the players, even if it doesn’t smell too good. Durant did the same thing Wade did, only he has a better chance of winning an NBA championship at the end of the rainbow. Wade doesn’t care that much, he already has three.