Imagine a world of Michael Redd and LBJ going toe-to-toe with with the NBA’s Eastern Conference during James’ earlier years in the NBA.
“You know what, I was close,” Michael Redd told Sean Deveney and myself during a recent episode of the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“I took a visit to Cleveland and met with the organization. My heart was in Milwaukee because that was the team that kind of, groomed me and you know, there was a loyalty that we as players had to our organizations back then. Different than now; they groomed me, they believed in me and that meant a lot to me throughout my career and so the decision to sign back with Milwaukee to me at the end of the day, it made sense because of the loyalty factor; and back then, if you didn’t win a championship you still weren’t – it didn’t affect your legacy as far as how good you were. So if we didn’t win a championship…I’d rather go down with the ship rather than join Kobe, join LeBron, Tracy McGrady or Vince Carter. I’d rather play against them and beat them rather than join them. So the different mentality that we had back then compared to now that you almost have to join up to win a championship and compete for a championship, back then it was a different mindset. Like, we didn’t work out together in the offseason at all. We…it was a different era. My whole mentality was, I had an opportunity to lead the franchise and from where I came from as a second round pick, to lead a franchise and to help build a team here that can contend, that was the mindset that I had back then.”
What if? What if Michael Redd had signed with Cleveland?
“You know, me and LeBron had that conversation over the years and we probably would’ve won a championship,” Redd tells Heavy Live With Scoop B.
“At that point, my career – and LeBron was great back then, but he was not who he is now. His savviness, his experience what he learned from D-Wade in 2011, 2012 and 2013 he became a different player from the 2005-2007. But I think still though, with the cast that he had I think we would’ve won a championship. I would’ve taken the pressure off him. I could score, close…yeah. I enjoy playing and I love the 4th Quarter; I do miss that being removed from the game. I loved the pressure packed moments. I’ve always embraced them. You know, being on the edge and being in the NBA and out of the NBA as a rookie builds character in you and a toughness to persevere and I just enjoyed you know, just being the guy who won the game or who lost the game and that probably would’ve helped LeBron in Cleveland.”
The Cavs played the Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobii-led San Antonio Spurs in the 2007 NBA Finals and lost.
What if Redd was on that team? “Well, I always gave San Antonio problems – personally when I played San Antonio in that era,” Redd tells Heavy Live With Scoop B.
“They would put Bruce Bowen on me, or whatever which we had great success against San Antonio for whatever reason in Milwaukee. It was certain teams that we had success against and San Antonio was on our radar which was a team that we could be for whatever reason. So LeBron who he was back then, being just a machine that he was and then the scoring ability with myself – that’s a hard combination to tackle so, obviously no doubt San Antonio had the savvy; they won championships. Coach Pop…it would’ve been a heck of a series for sure.”
James and Redd didn’t become NBA teammates, but would later become U.S.A Basketball teammates in 2008.
According to Redd, he and James would continue their dialogue of what if. “In 2008, really,” he said.
“During the Olympic run in ’06, ’07 and ’08, there was a swirl like ‘Like, man…what if we played together? Like, hmmmm?’ because we all enjoyed playing together at that time frame; you know Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo, Chris Paul, and all of us were playing together and it was like, ‘What if we played together on the NBA teams?’ and that conversation started then and then it manifested itself in 2010.”
The 2010 he spoke of is of course the Super Team that James would form with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami with the Heat. They’d win two NBA Championships while there.
James is living his best life in Los Angeles with the Lakers. The reigning NBA Finals MVP is looking to run it back with new key pieces in LA.
The 2020-21 NBA regular season begins on December 22.