Lakers Rumors: Warriors Unsuccessfully Tried To Trade For LeBron James Before Deadline
LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Lakers, Warriors
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has never been one to not express his discontent, and that was the case leading up to the trade deadline this year when he tweeted a cryptic hourglass emoji amid the team’s struggles.

While that immediately had everyone speculating, his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports immediately cleared things up by coming out and saying that James did not want a trade and wouldn’t be dealt before the deadline.

That apparently didn’t stop teams from calling Rob Pelinka and the Lakers about James’ availability ahead of the deadline, however. According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Golden State Warriors made an unsuccessful attempt to trade for the Lakers superstar:

Over a clandestine 24-hour window prior to the trade deadline Thursday that included owner-to-owner conversations, the Golden State Warriors made an unsuccessful bid to convince the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James to consider a trade to pair him with longtime rival Stephen Curry, sources told ESPN.

Armed with the encouragement of Warriors star Draymond Green, Golden State owner Joe Lacob reached out to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to inquire whether James’ apparent public frustration could be interpreted as an opening to discuss a trade, sources said.

Buss told Lacob the Lakers had no desire to trade James, but that he would need to seek the answer on James’ state of mind from his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, sources said. As an owner, Buss has operated with the mindset that she wants her star players content with the franchise, and that instructed her thinking on referring Warriors leadership to James’ representation, sources said.

If the Lakers ever wanted a temperature check on James’ commitment, here was his chance. In the end, the answer was returned resoundingly on the eve of the trade deadline: Paul told Lacob and Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr., that James had no interest in a trade and wanted to remain a Laker, sources said. When Dunleavy reached out to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka in those pretrade deadline hours, Dunleavy had been told the same: The Lakers wanted to keep James, sources said.

James has been a long-time rival of the Warriors, so there definitely is a lot to unpack with this one. He has stated before that Stephen Curry is a player he would want to play with, but LeBron clearly was not ready to leave the Lakers and his family in L.A. to pursue that opportunity.

Considering Jeanie Buss essentially told the Warriors to talk to James and Paul, it’s possible that the Lakers would have agreed to a trade if that was something that the 39-year-old wanted. The Lakers have always made sure to take care of their stars, and it likely would have been no different in this scenario if that’s what James truly desired.

James has a player option this offseason at around $51 million. Depending on how things play out the rest of the season, he can use that to either return to the Lakers or follow through with finishing his career elsewhere, potentially with Curry and Draymond Green on the Warriors.

Teams believe LeBron James will take less money to play with Bronny

One other options for James this summer could be joining whatever team drafts or signs his son Bronny if he chooses to leave USC. According to recent reports, there are multiple teams that believe LeBron would sign with them for less money if Bronny is on the roster.

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