LeBron James says he picked best available player for All-Star team, not to recruit

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

When picking his All-Star Game team, captain LeBron James chose Kevin Durant (first overall pick), Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson, among others.

What do all those players have in common? They are free agents this summer, except for Davis who almost certainly will be traded this summer and will be a free agent in 2020. The Lakers, LeBron’s team, have the space to bring in a max contract free agent.

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Which has led to a lot of speculation that LeBron picked this team to recruit them to come to L.A.

Saturday LeBron shot that down, speaking to reporters after practice, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I picked according to my draft board, and I picked according to who was the best available,” James said. “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.”

Unlike Durant, who lashed out at the media this week regarding all the rumors and speculation about his pending free agency, LeBron is unphased by the conversation.

“I think that’s a great conversation,” the Los Angeles Lakers superstar said… “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.”

That speculation does drive the sport (and help drive up players salaries in the process).

That speculation is not going to go away just because LeBron said he didn’t pick guys just to recruit them. LeBron is just better at letting it all roll off his back than Durant.

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