Taking a look at how LeBron James could join the Brooklyn Nets

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 31: LeBron James /

Earlier today, word spread that LeBron James would consider talking to the Golden State Warriors during the offseason. While James is a free agent, thus leaving him able to join any team in the league, it did pose a question: how could a team attract the best player in the league? We take a look at the Brooklyn Nets’ chances.

First things first, LeBron James needs a connection to draw him into Brooklyn. He is not going to play for the Brooklyn Nets just because they have D’Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. James has had better teammates than two in the past and is too old to wait for them to develop.

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So what brings him to Brooklyn in the first place? Perhaps a connection to Jay-Z would do it. Jay-Z is one of the Nets’ biggest celebrity fans. He was a minority owner at one point.

If Hova cannot do it, then James might consider the luxury of living in Brooklyn. Not only is he a stones throw away from Manhattan, but he can have the same big city lifestyle while not having to pay the luxury of renting in Manhattan.

And if those two do not do it for James then maybe he draws himself in. After all, James has gone on record and said that he is chasing Jordan. One of the few accomplishments Jordan has not done is take a team from the basement of the conference to the championship. James could try to be the hero the Nets’ need.

Alright, all of those are pretty far-fetched. But this is a purely hypothetical situation based on reports that he “COULD” talk to Golden State. C-O-U-L-D. Not definitely, not even probably, just could. But, I digress.

Say James decides Brooklyn is the place for him to be. The Nets are in a bit of a bind money-wise. With a ton of money tied up in Timofey Mozgov and Allen Crabbe, Brooklyn would not be able to offer LeBron a max contract.

The easiest way for Brooklyn to get rid of their contracts is by trade. Did I say easiest? Because even though trading sounds easy, most teams in the league have little to no cap space. Also, the cap does not increase this year. So despite being easier than all other options (read: breaking the NBA CBA and acquiring amnestying two players), it will still be an uphill battle for Brooklyn.

However there are still teams that have space, including the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. Brooklyn would have to trade both and somehow only take the minimum salary allowed in each trade.

But, again, because this is purely hypothetical, let’s suppose it happens. Brooklyn sheds both contracts and gets little to no tied up cap space in return. LeBron signs a max deal and is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets. Are the Nets so good that they can finally reach the finals after a decade and a half of looking in from the outside?

According to John Hollinger’s analysis on the ESPN Trade Machine, the Nets do not change. They do not get better, nor do they get worse. Of course, Hollinger’s analysis should be taken with a grain of salt as he only accounts for PER.

But even with LeBron, the Nets do not go all the way. While they would probably do better than what Hollinger analyzed, Brooklyn would still have to face Boston, Milwaukee and Toronto. All those teams have beaten the Nets and even the best player in the world would have only made it close.

There is a silver lining for Nets fans, however. No matter where James goes, Brooklyn is still going to be developing to a point where they could feasibly get to the championship. They do not need hypothetical situations.