The 2018 NBA free agency saw LeBron James leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time to join one of the most successful franchises in the league, the Los Angeles Lakers.
After four consecutive trips to the Finals with the Cavs, where he won one championship, James took his talents to Southern California, trying to bring the Lakers back to the top. At the time, more teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets had good cases to lure the player away from Cleveland.
However, the Lakers won this battle, acquiring one of the best players in NBA history in the summer of 2018. Yet, these three weren't the only ones interested in getting Bron. In fact, the Denver Nuggets planned to pursue the then 3x NBA champion and team him up with Nikola Jokic and Will Barton.
The Nuggets were a competitive team, yet they weren't seen as strong as they are now. Having LeBron with them would have helped them reach new levels faster.
"With Jokic and Barton on board, the Denver Nuggets will turn their attention to one more free agent: LeBron James. The Nuggets have been in contact with James's agent and will aggressively pursue a meeting," Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wrote in 2018.
However, a couple of months later, LeBron admitted he had a good relationship with the Nuggets' owner, but that didn't mean he considered moving to Denver during that free agency.
Was there every any conversations with the Nuggets before you moved to L.A.?
LeBron (laughs): "The owner of the team is a very dear friend of mine, so he discussed it a couple times to me, and also he sent me those throwback jerseys I think they’re wearing tonight. The white ones. The white with the mountains ... He said ‘you’d look good in one of these.’ But we’ve been on vacation, things of that nature. We have a great friendship, but I didn’t give it much thought.”
Now the Nuggets are seen as one of the Lakers' biggest rivals in the Western Conference. They have the reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic on the roster trying to take his squad to the promised land.
The Nuggets are expected to compete this season even without Jamal Murray, although their chances to win it all decrease with the point guard out of action. It would have been very interesting to watch Bron sharing touches with Jokic in Denver, but the King took a different path, joining the Lakers, where he would win the 2020 NBA championship.
**Credit for idea: u/Anti-vaxKD**