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Warriors reportedly tried to trade for LeBron James ahead of deadline

warriors-reportedly-tried-to-trade-for-lebron-james-ahead-of-deadline
Warriors reportedly tried to trade for LeBron James ahead of deadline

The Golden State Warriors made a Hail Mary attempt at trying to pair two of the best players in NBA history together prior to last Thursday’s trade deadline.

Warriors ownership pursued a move to acquire LeBron James, but both the Los Angeles Lakers and the all-time great weren’t interested in a trade, ESPN reported Wednesday. The trade talks reportedly began with Warriors owner Joe Lacob reaching out to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, who told him that they didn’t want to trade James. She did say, however, to check with the player’s representation to see if he was interested in being moved.

James’ agent, Rich Paul, gave Lacob a similar answer, telling him that his client didn’t want to be traded, according to ESPN. Warriors star forward Draymond Green, who is also a client of Paul’s, tried to convince his friend of a possible move to the Bay Area, but those attempts were shot down, ESPN reported. Paul also told ESPN a week prior to the Feb. 8 deadline that James wasn’t interested in being involved in a deadline deal.

If the Lakers and James were receptive, a possible trade would’ve paired him with longtime rival and fellow NBA great Stephen Curry. The duo have arguably been the league’s two biggest stars since Michael Jordan’s final retirement in 2003. They also shaped the NBA for much of the last decade, playing against each other in the NBA Finals in four straight seasons (2014-18) when James was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry’s Warriors got the upper hand in most of those matchups, winning three times.

Both James and Curry are still playing at an elite level, with both being named All-Stars once again this season. James is averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game while Curry is among the league’s leading scorers, averaging 28 points per game.

“MJ, Kobe & LeBron are all in the upper echelon of the GOAT talk” — Matt Barnes

But their respective teams appear to be far off from title contention. The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference with a 29-26 record and the Warriors are right behind them, sitting in 10th at 26-25. Both teams have played better of late. The Lakers are 5-1 since the start of February and the Warriors have won seven of their last eight games as Green reacclimated after returning from his indefinite suspension.

Both teams have major decisions to make though on franchise icons this offseason. James has a player option, and could opt to become a free agent. As for the Warriors, they could lose Klay Thompson this offseason. The 34-year-old is set to hit free agency but has struggled at points this season. His 17.1 points per game are his fewest since the 2012-13 season while his 37.3 percent shooting from behind the arc is the worst of his career, leading him to be on the bench in crunch time lately.

If James reversed course and decided he wants to join the Warriors in free agency this offseason, such a move would be difficult to make happen. They have $174 million in salary next season, which is $33 million north of the projected salary cap.

James and Curry are likely in the final seasons of their respective careers. James is set to turn 40 in December and Curry turns 36 in March. The Warriors point guard is under contract through the 2025-26 season. 

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