LA Lakers star LeBron James knows that his All-Star draft was perceived as a preemptive recruiting measure for all the players with flexible contract situations whom he targeted. However, he stated that the motivation behind his picks was simply fielding the best team possible.
James told, "I think that's a great conversation. Everyone kind of gets up for fantasy basketball talk. Guys that are restricted free agents, that are free agents, I don't know, [guys that have] player options. That's all part of the speculation that continues to drive our sport."
James selected Kevin Durant, who is expected to test free agency this summer, with the No. 1 overall pick. He then added former teammate Kyrie Irving -- who is also expected to decline his player option for 2019-20 with the Boston Celtics and sign a long-term contract to either stay or go -- as well as Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson, two more players expected to draw a lot of interest on the open market this summer.
James added, "It's all good and well and dandy, but for me, I picked according to my draft board, and I picked according to who was the best available. It just so happened that I had KD, who's a pending free agent, and Kyrie, who's a pending free agent. James [Harden] is under contract until 2030. Kawhi's a free agent."
The NBA changed to a draft format for the All-Star Game in 2018. Under the new parameters, the top vote-getter in each conference is named a captain, and they take turns picking their teams, choosing from a starters pool first and then reserves.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega