BOSTON (CBS) — All of the attention focused on where LeBron James will go this summer has somewhat overshadowed the looming free agency of another one of the very best basketball players in the world. And though basketball reporters and fans have made all sorts of speculations in recent weeks, few if any have theorized that James could team up with Kevin Durant and form a new superteam. That was, until now.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith shared some information he received about James reaching out to Durant about a potential collaboration in Los Angeles.
“I got two phone calls last night after hours, with folks telling me that LeBron James reached out to Kevin Durant,” Smith said on “First Take” on Thursday morning. “Actually Kevin Durant. You know that dude, the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP. You know that guy? One of the top three players in the world. That guy who just spent the last two years beating LeBron James in the NBA Finals? Well, LeBron James reached out to Kevin Durant, via text, from what I’m told, about coming to Los Angeles.”
Smith did not specify whether he was discussing the Lakers or the Clippers, though most would assume a potential pairing would take place with the Lakers. Smith said that he does not know what Durant said in response to James, but does know what Durant said to other people.
“Behind the scenes, Kevin Durant was like, ‘Why would I do that? As far as I’m concerned, LeBron James is a big-time player and what have you, but the way I look at it, I should be perceived as the best in the world. I’m the reigning two-time champion, I’m the reigning two-time NBA Finals MVP, why would I think about doing something like that?'” Smith shared. “But nevertheless, LeBron has been making calls and the one person that he did send a text message to, the one person I’m told he reached out to was Kevin Durant.”
While it’s certainly possible that Durant opts out of his contract and leaves Golden State, Smith cautioned to not plan on that happening because Durant’s goal is to win more titles than LeBron.
“Kevin Durant ain’t coming to L.A. Kevin Durant plans on staying in Golden State,” Smith said. “Kevin Durant plans on opting out and then getting a contract, an extension from the Golden State Warriors. His plan is to stay there because his mentality is that he intends to surpass LeBron James. His whole thing is not to join and help LeBron James get more rings, even if he’s getting it with LeBron. His goal is to surpass LeBron James. His belief is that in the next couple of years, he’ll have more rings than LeBron James has. And so that’s the mentality right now.”
UPDATE: Cleveland.com reporter Joe Vardon reported that LeBron did not text Durant. So, as with most NBA rumors, reports vary.