Sean Marks and Rob Pelinka know each well. The picture headlining this story was taken in January at Barclays Center. They are of course part of a very exclusive fraternity: NBA general managers, Marks for the Nets, Pelinka for the Lakers. And after this season, they have a lot of commiserate about. Neither met expectations ... far from it ... and are angling to restore order to their universes.
So when Adam Zagoria tweeted this two days ago, Twitter went, well, all a-twitter.
Nets GM Sean Marks and Lakers exec Rob Pelinka had a meeting at the Marriot Marquis this week at the NBA Combine.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 21, 2022
Unclear what they discussed. Potential trade? Dinner plans? Comparing superstar headaches?
Note that Zagoria did not say the two “reportedly” had a meeting. He said they met, suggesting that the New Jersey basketball writer had actually eyed them at the Chicago hotel.
Now, there could be a lot of reasons for the two to meet and Zagoria later added another, Pelinka could have been asking Marks for his assessment of Kenny Atkinson, on the short list for the vacant Lakers head coaching job.
But despite all the possibilities — Kyrie Irving for Anthony Davis; Ben Simmons for Anthony Davis; Kyrie Irving for Russell Westbrook plus other assets; Kenny Atkinson; etc., etc., Nets fans (perhaps fueled by the #Bronlyn hashtag created by NetsDaily writers) think it’s all about making LeBron James part of a new “Big Three,” a “Bigger Three,” oh yeah, the “BIGGEST Three!”
Oh, and there’s plenty of evidence, these fans suggest, pointing furiously to recent social media postings, like the LeBron AMA on Twitter in which he was asked what player would he like to team with in a mythical battle with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin...
Kobe, KD or Kyrie— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 17, 2022
Indeed, that was doubly interesting. 1) he responded with the Nets teammates and 2) he chose this particular question to open his AMA. Then, he reiterated his feelings in a back-and-forth with Dywane Wade.
I see no lie told! They are 2 of the most skilled players of ALL-TIME— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 20, 2022
Not long before that, Kyrie Irving went on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast to say he regrets not being mature and understanding enough to see the opportunities playing with LeBron would have been given him.
“We didn’t talk during that time,” Irving acknowledged regarding his 2017 departure from the Cavs. “When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did, because it would’ve been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us and we know how much power we both had together. Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would’ve definitely been worth it.”
Wait, there’s more!
“The King” was in New York City — and yes, Brooklyn! — this weekend.
Then, he attended the Brooklyn wedding of Jeffrey Schottenstein — son of Jay Schottenstein, the billionaire chairman of the American Eagle Outfitters with whom Lebron has had endorsement deals.
הכדורסלן האמריקאי ג'יימס לברון נפגש אמש עם האדמו"ר רבי יאשיהו פינטו, מנהיג "שובה ישראל", ושוחח עימו ארוכות. לברון ליווה אמש את האדמו"ר הרב פינטו במהלך חתונתו של בן המיליארדר היהודי ג'יי שוטנשטיין, שהתקיימה בניו יורק @KingJames pic.twitter.com/kxLjZtE7GX— RabbiPinto הרב פינטו (@RabbiPinto) May 23, 2022
It had previously been reported that James donated $100,000 to Rabbi Pinto’s Shuva Israel organization for the creation of a yeshiva. In fact, back in 2010, TMZ reported that James had sought out the so-called “rabbi to the business stars” for spiritual guidance on a “big merchandising meeting” that took place on a “private yacht somewhere off the coast of NY just hours ago.”
And Bryce Maximus James, LeBron’s second son, was spied in his gym class recently wearing his (second?) favorite NBA player’s jersey
We have run out of explanation points. Question marks though? Plenty of them still available.
So, is it too crazy to suggest ways this could get done? Kristian Winfield takes a stab at it Monday, suggesting a trade centered on “The King” for “The Prince,” the moniker some fans gave Ben Simmons back when some draftniks thought Simmons multiple talents made him Lebron Lite. Maybe add both the 2022 and the 2027 first rounders acquired along with Simmons, their own pick in 2028 pick (when Winfield suggest the Nets will be bad and the pick valuable), Seth Curry and even Cam Thomas.
Winfield notes all the caveats. James is 37 and will turn 38 in December. Things happen at that age ... although LeBron did lead the league in scoring. He also has only one year left on his deal, meaning this new “Big Three’s” window would be closing faster than if they take their chances with Simmons, who’s under contract for three more years and is only 25. There is plenty of evidence that Marks likes what Simmons can bring to Brooklyn.
Despite all that, those who hold out hope for Lebron James in black-and-white should remember this while examining Marks and Pelinka’s calendars: Back in 2008, LeBron was in New York for a Team USA event. He was asked by ESPN to name his favorite city, he responded, “New York”. Asked his favorite borough in the city? “My favorite borough? Brooklyn.” Yikes! That, too, got us fans all crazy and indeed, he reportedly liked the Nets free agent presentation in 2010, but when Pat Riley dumped of his NBA rings out of a cloth bag and onto the table, the Heat won the bidding.
We know nothing, but it seems at this point that the most likely explanation for the Marks-Pelinka Summit at the Marriott Marquis is the least impactful. Maybe they were just catching up, comparing their Marriott points, perhaps. Of course, you never know. Carry on. It’s the off-season.