An up-and-coming NBA analyst recently claimed that stars like LeBron James have strategized their moves way ahead before it happens. The hot take came in light of the Milwaukee Bucks' shocking acquisition of Damian Lillard in a three-team trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns.
In a recent episode of the "Fluent & Chill" podcast of the Players Choice network, Tony Koubridis, also known as Sports Fluent, argued that Giannis Antetokounmpo carefully planned Lillard's trade, or at least laid down the foundation to be in the superstar guard's good graces in case he requests a trade.
"These players are sneaky," Koubridis said. "So one, Giannis picks Dame first in the All-Star game. All of a sudden, this happens (the trade) out of the blue.
"Really? Don't forget, on November 7 of 2010, LeBron says, 'Next year, I'm not wearing No. 23. I'm going to wear the No. 6 out of respect.' That's because he knew he was going to Chicago or Miami.
"Is it crazy to think Giannis was laying the foundation for trying to get a Dame to his team? I'm not saying they colluded or anything, but I'm saying he might've said, 'Hey, I picked you first. You know it'd be good to play with me. If it happens, he's not going to say no."
In the 2023 All-Star Game in Utah, Giannis Antetokounmpo had the first pick of the reserves over LeBron James. Many people thought, including James, that Antetokounmpo would select Jrue Holiday.
However, "The Greek Freak" shocked everyone when he picked Damian Lillard. Even James hilariously questioned Antetokounmpo's decision at the time, and it's certainly more interesting now that they became teammates eight months later.
"See, Giannis has changed this weekend," James said. "You know he always talks about loyalty, being loyal, all that stuff, right?
"So I knew for sure his first pick was going to be Jrue. So I don't know what's going on with Giannis. OK, you messed up my whole draft board now."
LeBron James ready for his 21st NBA season
LeBron James of the LA Lakers will be the oldest player in the NBA this season. However, he's not showing a lot of signs of aging outside of several injuries in the last few years. His athleticism also took a hit, but he's still one of the best players in the league.
In preparation for the 2023-24 season, James held his annual minicamp with the rest of his Lakers teammates last week. The purpose of the camp is to strengthen the team's chemistry and help the team build a good foundation before training camp.