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Bill Walton: LeBron James should play for free

I’ve missed Bill Walton.

He was a larger-than-life person and personality, a great player and a broadcaster who made the game fun with hyperbole. He rubbed some people the wrong way -- I’ll admit he annoyed me at times -- but he always a reminder that this is a game and supposed to be fun.

Back pain knocked him down. Hard. But now he is back up, getting back into the game of life and playing evangelist for the doctor and back procedure that has him up and back in the game of life.

Oh, and he has basketball opinions, as he told the New York Times’ Howard Beck:

What I would really like to see is LeBron play for free. There are rules that you cannot do that. You have to get a minimum salary. Say, ‘I’ll play for the minimum, I’ll make my money in the endorsement market -- just spend the rest of the money and buy me some real players. Pay them. And lets make a real super team. And lets change the history of basketball...

(The Celtics have the) Best point guard in the Eastern Conference, best coach in the Eastern Conference, best home-court advantage in the East Conference. Best depth. Tremendous size across the front line. Fantastic individual offense in Paul Pierce, a phenomenal big-game finisher in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, a historical-level figure who’s playing as well as he can, based on his physical limitations. I see the Celtics winning the East....

But (Pau Gasol’s) game is unique, because it’s 100 percent based on skill. There’s never any pushing, shoving. You win the championship when you have the best player, and the Lakers have that in Kobe -- Kobe and LeBron are the two best players -- and you have the best coach, Phil Jackson; and you dominate the paint. And that’s what Pau Gasol does. And he does it with his mind, his heart, his soul, his spirit and his incredible skill.”

I’m fairly sure that among LeBron James’ free agent options, playing for free will not be one of them.

But the idea is fun.... I’ve missed Bill Walton.