Warriors Attempted To Get Lakers To Consider LeBron Trade

Prior to last Thursday’s trade deadline, the Warriors tried – unsuccessfully – to convince the Lakers to consider sending superstar forward LeBron James to Golden State, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

The Warriors’ pursuit of James occurred at multiple levels, per ESPN’s reporting. Klutch Sports client Draymond Green contacted agent Rich Paul in an effort to solicit his help getting LeBron on board with a move to Golden State, while Warriors owner Joe Lacob reached out to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. touched base with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

Ultimately, the same answer came back from all involved parties — the Lakers had no interest in trading James, and the four-time MVP had no interest in going anywhere, as Paul stated six days ahead of the deadline.

As Wojnarowski and Shelburne outline, the Warriors’ pursuit stemmed from the fact that James seemed to be frustrated by the Lakers’ up-and-down first half. He hinted at those frustrations in some comments to the media and posted a cryptic tweet consisting only of hourglass emoji.

When Lacob reached out to Buss, she told the Warriors owner that while she had no interest in trading LeBron, that she would check in with him and Paul to gauge their thoughts.

Sources tell ESPN that Buss has “operated with the mindset that she wants her star players content with the franchise,” so if he had been unhappy with his situation in Los Angeles, the team would have been open to changing its stance. That wasn’t the case, however, as Paul told both Lacob and Dunleavy that his top client wanted to remain a Laker.

ESPN’s report doesn’t include any details about the package the Warriors would have offered for James, but since the goal was to pair him with Stephen Curry and Green was involved in the recruiting, we can at least safely assume those two wouldn’t have been on the table. Beyond that, there are many permutations Golden State could have explored — an offer involving Chris Paul and/or Andrew Wiggins, plus prospects and draft picks, seems most likely, given that the Dubs reportedly weren’t interested in moving Klay Thompson.

According to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, the Warriors weren’t the only team to check in on James prior to the trade deadline. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey also inquired on LeBron’s availability, though that’s a common practice for Morey, who also contacted the Suns to ask about Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and/or Bradley Beal, per ESPN.

As ESPN’s duo explains, the Warriors situation was a little different because it began at the ownership level and included a conversation with Paul, whereas Morey is known around the league for making “bold” long-shot trade inquiries. When Morey asked the Lakers about LeBron, Pelinka responded by inquiring about the availability of reigning MVP Joel Embiid, which ended their brief conversation, sources tell Woj and Shelburne.

James will have a decision to make this summer on a 2024/25 player option worth $51.4MM. While he’s considered likely to either pick up that option or sign a new deal with the Lakers, suitors like the Warriors and Sixers may get a chance to pursue him again at that time.

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