Jay Williams counts the reasons for LeBron James to end up on Suns
The summer was spent with a fact-driven rumor mill linking the Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant.
Now in a midseason realm of crystal-ball reading into next offseason, Keyshawn, JWill & Max co-host Jay Williams would like to throw out a more wild theory for the Suns.
What if the big move down the road is acquiring LeBron James?
Williams admitted he was coming in hot and going off an inclination when he broached the subject Tuesday when joining Wolf & Luke on Arizona Sports.
He had his bullet points ready.
- James has gone on record saying he wants to play with his son Bronny in the NBA, which would require at least a few more years in the league to await the arrival of the four-star prospect in the 2023 high school class.
- Playing with Devin Booker and Chris Paul would help James extend his career, taking the load off compared to his current role as best player on the Lakers.
- Paul is close to James and, like the fellow future Hall of Famer, prioritized playing for a team close to his immediate family’s home base in Los Angeles.
- James has called Suns GM James Jones his favorite teammate ever.
- The Suns own all their future draft picks and swaps.
- The Lakers realistically could go into rebuild mode before James’ contract ends.
“The pieces feel like they fit,” Williams told Wolf & Luke.
James, it should be noted, isn’t trade-eligible until next season when he’s in a contract year before a player option for 2024-25.
“I think it would be a swap of picks. I think you would have to talk about future things that would have to occur that have to do with little Bronny,” Williams added. “I look at the relationship he’s had with management — their days back in Cleveland with James — and I also look at the relationship with CP3 and always wanting to play together. I look at longevity in this league.”
Yes, it is only November.
Phoenix sits at 8-5 and, as expected, is a contending team that looks like it needs to hit one more blockbuster trade to jump into title-favorite status. But Jones does not operate with haste, especially when his team is managing injuries and absences with a winning record.
What might sooner come to the forefront is what’s happening in Los Angeles. James is a member of a 3-10 team that, according to reports, is aware that it might be time to rebuild.
“I just don’t think anything’s out of the realm anymore. I look at this Lakers team … (vice president of basketball operations) Rob Pelinka and (owner) Jeanie Buss are going to look at this stage where they’re going to have to think about, are they going to jeopardize … the future of this franchise?
“Will LeBron want to be there long-term after next year? I’m not really sure that’s the case.”
FOX Sports’ Ric Bucher earlier this month wrote on that possibility as well. A polling of outside executives see a shift coming, and an anonymous scout mentioned the Suns as a potential landing spot if James splits from Los Angeles.
Whether that’s this year might not be the case.
“The Suns have proved themselves quite capable of getting close, but I think they need a little bit more if they want to get to where they want,” the scout said. “One more ball handler and playmaker.”
The presence of one of LeBron’s best friends, Chris Paul, would make it especially appealing.
“It’s the one place he’d be welcome with open arms,” the scout said. “In Phoenix, with LeBron, I think Chris would finally get his ring.”
Williams believes the Suns should feel they’re in an arms race to stay title-relevant.
And he thinks James, 37, seeking a prolonged career close to home on a team fit for him to distribute rather than dominate, could view the Suns as checking a lot of boxes.
“I think one of the things that people around the league have forgotten to talk about is just the amount of respect that is garnered for CP3 and how he operates and how he addresses conflict head-on,” Williams said of the notion that James wouldn’t be the star player in Phoenix.
“There’s gonna be almost like a roundtable — it’s like the Knights in King Arthur. And Devin Booker is King Arthur.”