Obviously it's an extremely unlikely outcome for LeBron James to be a Trailblazer next season... at this point, it's unlikely he will even choose to opt out of his contract in Miami. My question has NOTHING to do with the odds that it actually happens... I'm just wondering what the Blazers would have to do financially to make this happen in theory. Would Portland be able to afford to sign LBJ without getting rid of either Damian Lillard or LaMarcus Aldridge..? What about adding Nicolas Batum to that group as well... could the Blazers afford to sign LBJ without getting rid of all 3 of those guys? Or would Batum have to go anyways since he is a small forward, the same position as LBJ..?
In this imaginary scenario, let's pretend that LeBron really wants to come to Portland to be a part of the new "BIG 3" with Lillard and Aldridge. Since he wants to come to Portland so badly, pretend that he would be willing to sign a smaller contract than what he's actually worth... something similar to the pay cut he took when signing with Miami. Would it be possible then? What about a max contract... paying LeBron what he's actually worth... would that be possible then?
With Damian Lillard continuing to improve as he almost certainly will giving his young age... he should be one of the best guards in the NBA very soon. Possibly THE best. Then with Aldridge still being young enough that he still has a couple more years that he will be improving before he starts to plateau for a number of years. That gives Portland a pretty awesome 1-2 punch to build a winning franchise around. If I were LeBron James, I know that the vast majority of my income throughout my life won't be coming from the NBA contracts I sign... most of the income will come from endorsement deals. The endorsement deals will dwarf his NBA contracts... plus they will continue for many years after he's done playing basketball. The more championships he wins during his career, the more endorsement deals he'll receive, and the bigger they will become. Michael Jordan won six NBA Titles in his career... two separate 3-petes. And because of that, now more than 16 years after winning his last ring, MJ is still making money by the truck load with endorsement deals from Nike, Gatorade, Upper Deck, Five Star Fragrances, and of course we can't forget Hanes. In 2014 MJ is making more than $80 million on his endorsements alone... that's not including a slew of restaurants, car dealerships, and a handful of other businesses he owns that use his name to continue to be successful.
If you take the pretty amazing building blocks of Lillard and Aldridge.... but then you add LeBron James into the mix. That is a recipe for success... the kind of thing that attracts solid players who can sign with Portland at a bargain rate for a year or two to consistently round out the roster. It also makes it possible to always have the best coaches and GM's eager to take a job whenever there is an opening. If that Big 3 could come together in Portland, IMO they would instantly become a dynasty. One which would last for the better part of a decade.
So... in theory, is it financially possible for Portland to land LeBron James? Or is it just a pipe dream that couldn't happen even if all parties were on board?