LeBron James is conducting workouts in Las Vegas this week, and he has a pretty stellar cast of players with him. Among the participants are Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, new teammate Derrick Rose and, curiously, reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook.
The workouts — which have been described as “intense” so far — have an interesting mix of personalities. Paul and James are long-time friends, Rose and James will be teaming up next season, while Bledsoe and James share an agent (Rich Paul). Westbrook is the odd man out in this scenario since it doesn’t appear he has any connection to LeBron, the man who set up the minicamp.
With that in mind, it’s worth asking if inviting Westbrook was an opportunity for James to do some recruiting. After all, Westbrook and James can both become free agents after next season and could decide to team up. Whether with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder or elsewhere, the duo would create quite a tandem. It could be argued that their ball-dominant styles wouldn’t fit together, but if both guys agreed to sacrifice in order to compete for a title, they could make it work.
Additionally, both Westbrook and James have set their sights on the Golden State Warriors. LeBron has lost two of the last three NBA Finals to the Dubs, while Russ desperately wants to take down former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant. I can’t think of two guys more determined to wreck the Warriors’ budding dynasty. If they each thought their best chance at taking out Golden State meant surrendering some shots, I bet they’d both take it.
Of course, Westbrook and James could just be working out together to make each other better. There could be nothing to it. But LeBron always makes decisions while considering all the outcomes. He’s playing chess, not checkers. There always seems to be a motive for everything he does.
James knows what he’s doing and knows people will be talking about this. Would anyone be surprised if he was already building his next — and maybe last — super team?