—Can you believe it? Rob Gronkowski didn’t retire from football. He didn’t become a professional wrestler. He didn’t go to Hollywood. Gronk is a New England Patriot, and he was present at mandatory minicamp this week at Gillette Stadium, along with Tom Brady.
That’s right, all that worrying for nothing. Brady and Gronkowski have returned, and now we can turn our attention to football, right? Eh, not so fast. Alex Guerrero is still the elephant in the room. And until Brady gets out on the field in a regular-season game, I’ll continue to be reminded of how much of a weirdo he’s been acting like this offseason.
I’d say that the regular season can’t come soon enough, but that would mean summer is over. And I’m still waiting for summer to begin.
—One story that I expect to pick up steam this summer is LeBron James leaving Cleveland. James is having a playoff for the ages, and regardless of how the NBA Finals turns out, word on the street is that he’ll be opting out and heading to Los Angeles. This isn’t breaking news. This has been a rumor for a while now. Whether James ends up in LA with either the Lakers or Clippers remains to be seen. Regardless of where he ends up, I think it’s safe to say that he’s leaving the Cavs. And if that’s the case, you know there will be more rumors than just “LeBron to LA.”
The Philadelphia 76ers have recently emerged as a candidate to sign James. And in fact, as of Tuesday, the Houston Rockets are the favorite to land James this offseason, at +150. Philly has the second-best odds, at +300. Cleveland is +350. The Lakers are +400. Golden State is +1600. The Clippers and Miami Heat are +2500.
Notice you don’t see the Celtics on that odds list. Enter Antoine Walker. The former Celtic was on Fox Sports 1 last week, and I’m not going to lie, he got me thinking.
“Now you’re gonna think I’m crazy, but if I were [LeBron], I’m going to Boston,” said Walker. “Yeah, I’m going to Boston. I mean, Kevin Durant did it. Kevin Durant joined the best. And the best team in the Eastern Conference right now would be the Boston Celtics. I would figure out a way to get to Boston, if I’m LeBron James. Even the playing field. “If I’m Danny Ainge, I’m taking a shot at him. I want to even the playing field. If LeBron James is free, I want to even the playing field. And that’s how you even the playing field.”
I mean, he’s not wrong. If James is dead set on leaving Cleveland, and he wants to even the playing field and give himself the best chance to knock off the Warriors, then joining the Celtics would be the right move. From a money standpoint, the C’s would have to trade at least one of their max contracts to make room for James. So you’d probably have to say goodbye to Al Horford or Gordon Hayward, which, if I have my NBA salary cap rules correct, would probably have to end up being some type of special sign-and-trade where James opts into his one-year with the Cavs and then gets dealt for either Horford or Hayward and another Celtic to match the salary.
No, I wouldn’t get rid of Kyrie Irving, which might make you ask, “How could James and Irving coexist?” Well, in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nicols last week before the Finals began, James said that he never wanted Irving to be traded and admitted that he even made a call to management requesting that the Cavs don’t trade Irving.
“The odds have not been with us all season, even when you start back at the summer time, when I felt like it was just bad for our franchise to just trade away our superstar point guard,” said James. What’s also interesting is the way that James and Irving hugged it out after the games in which they faced each other this season, while on different teams. For two guys that reportedly didn’t want to play together, it sure doesn’t seem like they hate each other. In fact, after hearing James’ interview with ESPN last week, it feels like the complete opposite.
It almost feels like they wouldn’t mind playing together again. Maybe they just didn’t want to be in Cleveland anymore. Maybe James was always going to follow Irving, so he told Irving to demand a trade while he still had high trade value with two full years left on his deal to go along with an option on the third. Maybe it was all just part of their plan.
Or maybe not. And maybe James will end up in LA after all. I’m just here to tell you that LeBron-to-Boston isn’t as crazy as you might think. Is it summer yet?