LeBron James would take paycut to play with Chris Paul, etc.

Feb 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, and LeBron James pose for a picture after the NBA All Star Game at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, and LeBron James pose for a picture after the NBA All Star Game at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

To play with his bestfriends, a group that includes Chris Paul, LeBron James says he would take a paycut.

It’s not often superstars take paycuts. The number one situation cited when referencing such, Miami’s Big 3, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh took considerable chops to their salary to play with one another, winning two championships in four seasons.

If it was up to LeBron James, he’d do it again, sacrificing finance for comfort, to play alongside his friends, a group that includes Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, via Bleacher Report:

"“I really hope that, before our career is over, we can all play together,” James said. “At least one, maybe one or two seasons—me, Melo, D-Wade, CP—we can get a year in. I would actually take a pay cut to do that.”"

The likelihood of the four being on the same team, that isn’t the Olympic team, is at zero. Though Wade and James are free agents next summer, Anthony and Paul remain under contract for their teams. And monetarily, when the Miami Heat housed James, Wade, and Bosh, the next highest salary was Mike Miller’s $8 million, which would easily be the lowest non-rookie salary for one of the four future Hall of Famers — when James and co. took their cuts it was a sacrifice of  $2-$3 million, not $10-$15 million.

That doesn’t mean two or three couldn’t join forces.

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LeBron being a free agent and “visibly” frustrated with whatever direction the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed in, he holds the trump card. Los Angeles won’t deny him. New York wouldn’t either, though it’d be hustling backwards in effort to play with a friend. Miami? The wounds are still open from James’ departure and the team’s contending status could push Pat Riley’s arrogance far enough to shut the door on an LBJ return.

If that fails, James could assert and push to bring Anthony and Paul to him.

The Carmelo-for-Love rumors were already a thing, so Cleveland chooses to revisit and Carmelo agrees to waive his no-trade clause, that move could happen. And if Doc Rivers still pushes to shake up the core in hopes of saving his job and bringing Los Angeles its first championship while LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s disconnect grows louder and louder, a Chris Paul-for-Kyrie trade isn’t the craziest thing that could happen. In this situation, having Wade is probably off the table; he has far more to lose leaving Miami and joining Cleveland from a PR perspective that makes the possibility not worth the time.

That particular team may make more sense in theory than the current Cavaliers cast, though the longevity would be remarkably smaller. The Cavaliers want Kyrie Irving to be a better passer, so who better to replace him than Paul, one of the league’s best assist men and floor general’s. The Cavs hope for Love to be a better scorer, so who better to replace him than Melo, one of the league’s best scorers, still, and a improved player in all other efforts if his 2015-16 play isn’t a mirage — Melo’s even oft-injured like Love so there’s that!

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Surrounded by the right pieces, that threesome could contend for a championship, or better threaten the Golden State Warriors, whose ’16-17 firmware update could include an inclusion of Kevin Durant. Either would be a step up from the current Cavs, even if from a morale standpoint as James doesn’t seem his happiest as of late with Cleveland trying to figure everything out before the playoffs arrive.

Does a happier LeBron mean a better LeBron, or a version more willing to adapt to the pieces around him? While Paul and Anthony don’t have Dwyane Wade’s championship pedigree, they’re persons James respect and that respect could lead to him deferring the offense to CP3 without pushback or to Anthony on offense, allowing for himself to play a Draymond Green/Scottie Pippen role, filling in wherever holes are at.

Next: Clippers have a tough shot to beat Golden State

If I had to bet on it, none of the four would be on the same team next season. It takes too many pillars to be moved and obstacles to be climbed. LeBron James could dream though, and buy the latest copy of NBA 2K to play with ‘the Brotherhood’. Or if he cares little about the PR fallout that’d come with it, he can join up with friend(s). The decision is his, no pun intended.