PHOENIX -- This won't make LeBron James popular at the next players' union meeting, but Thursday he suggested the NBA would be more entertaining if there was contraction of teams.
In defending his decision to join up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, James said the league was better when numerous teams had multiple stars. He said he hopes the league can return to that someday, because right now there isn't enough talent to support the 30 current teams.
"Hopefully the league can figure out one way where it can go back to the '80s where you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall of Famers on the same team," James said. "The league was great. It wasn't as watered down as it is [now]."
In fact, James seemed to have a couple of ideas of which teams could go and some players who would make other teams better right now.
"[Contraction] is not my job; I'm a player but that is why it, the league, was so great," James said.
"Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the [league]. Looking at some of the teams that aren't that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren't that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good. Not saying let's take New Jersey and let's take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I'm not stupid, it would be great for the league."
Perhaps that's a hint why James didn't seriously consider signing with the Nets last summer.
James said Wednesday he doesn't enjoy playing on Christmas even if it is the main attraction on the league's regular-season schedule.
James said the Christmas game wouldn't be such a big deal if there were fewer teams like in the '80s.
"You had more [star] players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated, not just a Christmas Day game," James said. "I don't ever think it is bad for the league when guys decide they want to do some greatness for what we call a team sport."
Brian Windhorst covers the Miami Heat for ESPN.com