Despite trying to relax in and around a coastal castle magically backed by snowy Alpine peaks, LeBron James is tense during his European vacation. Every time he surfs he falls right off and is swallowed by massive waves. Efforts to hang glide invariably snap the cord connected to the speedboat and LeBron’s again deposited in waves from which he emerges battered and muttering. On water skis he twice hydroplanes and becomes airborne and lands while doing the splits. On snow skis he always staggers and falls within seconds of pushing off. His only sledding run proceeds famously until a friend’s sled cuts him off and sends both rolling down the mountain.
“Hell with this crazy recreational stuff,” says LeBron. “I’m ready to ball.”
“You banned all basketballs and hoops from this vicinity, and ordered me not to comply if you tried to acquire them,” says his security chief.
“That’s right. I’m ready to play a bigger kind of ball. Get me Magic.”
In about twenty seconds LeBron says, “Everything’s going great here, Magic, but I can’t really take a vacation when there’s a team to build. Have you signed Kawhi Leonard yet?”
“Not yet, LeBron.”
“What’s the hold up?”
“San Antonio wants Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, the Lakers Girls, and three first round picks. At our summit meeting in your mansion we agreed we weren’t going to overpay now for a guy we’ll probably get next year without giving up anybody.”
LeBron is silent.
“Hey, big guy, you remember that, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” says LeBron. “And I hope you haven’t forgotten our commitment to winning titles. I think the Warriors have put a hex on me that extends around the world.”
“I’ve been taking care of that,” Magic says. “I signed JeVale McGee as our center for next season.”
“The big dude who just hit eighty percent from the field in the finals against your old Cleveland Cavaliers. The same guy who blocked five shots despite playing limited minutes.”
“He may be a functional backup.”
“He started three of four games in the sweep of you guys.”
“Very well. Any more acquisitions?”
“The guy who blew into my ear during a game?”
“He was getting into your head,” says Magic. “I know you like guys tough enough to do that. Besides, you didn’t say, ‘No way.’”
“I didn’t say, ‘Go for it,’ either. But, all right, he’s a competitor.”
“And I got us another champion.”
“He was a champion ten years ago playing with three future hall of famers on the Celtics.”
“That’s right,” Magic says, “and he’s playing with future hall of famers on the Lakers.”
“Who’s that, besides me?”
“I can see Lonzo Ball maybe making the hall of fame. And Brandson Ingram, he’s the surest bet we’ve got after you. Kyle Kuzma could make it, too.”
“That’s a lot of young ifs to take on four guaranteed hall of famers on the Warriors.”
“Five, if DeMarcus Cousins recovers from his Achilles injury in time,” says Magic.
“The Warriors got Boogie?”
“Why didn’t you sign him?”
“Like we agreed, LeBron. This is probably a two-year process. We’ll get Kawhi next summer, if we even want him. We might take Anthony Davis, instead.”
“That would be good. And I’d love to grab Klay Thompson from the Warriors.”
“We do that and the Warriors are done,” Magic says.
“Especially if we get Kevin Durant, too.”
“If I weren’t busy making deals, I’d join you over there in Europe, LeBron.”
“Come on over for a few days. You can make deals here while I teach you to ski.”