During NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned that the league is considering potentially altering its playoff system. Instead of having the teams divided by conference—with seeds 1 through 8 in the East and seeds 1 through 8 in the West—the change would mean all 16 teams would compete in the same bracket, with East teams competing with West teams. In theory, seed 1 would play seed 16, much like the NCAA Tournament system.
On the surface, this is a reasonable change that could make the NBA Playoffs more interesting. As it stands now, the first round of the playoffs is pretty…lacking. This would shake things up.
But some people have already asked: Could this possibly all be a ploy to benefit LeBron James? That's the perspective Out Of Bounds host Gilbert Arenas espoused on Tuesday's episode of the show. Check out No Chill Gil's take in the video above. You can also catch the full episode below.
“Why would you want to change it now? Huh, if Adam Silver knows LeBron James is coming to the West Coast,” Gil said. “If LeBron James comes to the West Coast, this actually makes sense now.”
Indeed, where the King will play next season is a topic of much debate among NBA fans. People have said for over a year that they think he's headed to the Lakers, while others have linked him to the Rockets—both Western Conference teams. Either way, Gil's theory suggests the NBA is trying to set the playoff seedings up so that LeBron would still have a relatively easy path to the NBA Finals, even while playing in the West.
Gil's conspiracy theory is far from the only conspiracy theory that has been attached to LeBron's name throughout his illustrious 15-year career. Conspiracy theories following someone nicknamed “LBJ”? You don't say. (Word to Lyndon Baines Johnson, whom conspiracy theorists blame for the Kennedy assassination.)
Below are some of the wildest LeBron James conspiracy theories we've ever seen.
1. LeBron is headed to the Lakers because of…Space Jam 2?!
It feels like Space Jam 2 is never going to happen at this point, right? However, some believe signing with L.A. would give LeBron the buzz needed to raise the budget for the film. Director Justin Lin has confirmed the sequel is happening. We just don't know when.
2. The Spurs air conditioning conspiracy
The Spurs jumped to a 1-0 lead in the 2014 NBA Finals, and LeBron had to leave Game 1 in a pivotal moment because he cramped up in the fourth quarter. People accused San Antonio of intentionally messing with the A.C. to force the best player alive to check out of the game. That would be downright Belichickian.
3. We have to address Delonte West
4. Did a young LeBron intentionally blow a playoff game against Boston?
The Cavs played the Celtics in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals, and some accused him of intentionally blowing Game 6. The theory is that LeBron wanted out of Cleveland and he used that series to show the NBA he simply had to leave because he was working with so little talent.
5. Were he and Kyrie in it together?
All the drama that followed LeBron and former teammate Kyrie Irving this summer was so perfect and theatrical that it seemed staged. Was it possible they worked together to orchestrate a move that was ideal for both of their careers? Some think so.
6. Did he play a role in Eric Bledsoe's trade demand?
Eric Bledsoe demanded to be traded and eventually was—from the Phoenix Suns to the Milwaukee Bucks this past fall. Rich Paul, LeBron's agent and close friend, represents Bledsoe. Some believe LeBron was pulling the strings because he wanted Bledsoe to get out of Phoenix.
7. Really, anything could be turned into a LeBron conspiracy—even wine
Even an innocuous team trip to Napa Valley for a nice wine tasting has proven it could lead to conspiracies. People blamed the Cavs' 2017-18 struggles (which are maybe, possibly, probably over) on their love for the vino.
The Eastern Conference looks up for grabs right now. The Cavs are surging, but the Raptors and Celtics have been good all year. Regardless of how the playoffs shake out, you can bet more LBJ conspiracy theories will hit the internet in May and June—especially after he announces his free-agency decision. Get ready to add to this list.
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