A recent report by Chris Haynes of ESPN floated the idea that LeBron James would be open to meeting with the Warriors this offseason if they opened up enough cap space for another max slot. While the report reads like James begging the Cavaliers to do something before the trade deadline, it does bring up a fascinating question: Could the Warriors plus LeBron James go undefeated in a regular season?
The first question is, logistically, how the Warriors can clear enough space to bring in the four time MVP. It would actually be pretty simple. A sign-and-trade to Cleveland for Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Nick Young would create enough space. On top of that, the Warriors would need to likely entirely reload their bench, but I am sure there are plenty of guys who would take a significant pay cut for as close as a guarantee to an NBA rings as is possible.
So how good would this team be? Using my player projection model, I can project how well each player on the roster will perform next season. To keep it brief, the Warriors would end the conversation of who the best team ever is if they somehow find a way to add James.
Projected to win 73.2 games on average with a Net Rating of +12.9, no team can really compare to the potential dominance the Warriors would unleash on the NBA on a night to night basis.
Obviously though, of course the Warriors would be somehow even better if they added LeBron James. You do not need my model to tell you that. More interesting is that my model would give the Warriors a 47.6 percent chance of beating their own all-time wins record of 73. In fact, my model goes so far as to give this potential team a 0.53 percent chance of winning 80 games or more. That number is almost equal to the 0.58 percent chance my model would give them of winning *just* 65 games or less.
At the extreme end, my model gives this potential ultra-super team a 0.009 percent chance of going undefeated at 82-0. In about 1 in every 11,050 simulations the Warriors went 82-0. That is insanity. This team would be by far the best team ever assembled.
Of course, the report by Chris Haynes notes that the Warriors have no plans currently of attempting this move. But the question sure is enticing!