LeBron James Subject to Warriors Trade Bid Rejected by Lakers

Photo of Lebron James along with the Warrior star.

During last week’s trade deadline, both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers chose not to make any moves. However, a recent report suggests that there was considerable interest in a potential trade that could have had a significant impact on the league. According to ESPN, the Warriors made a serious effort to acquire Lakers’ star LeBron James, who ultimately expressed his preference to remain in Los Angeles, at least for the time being.

The sequence of events began with a phone call from Warriors owner Joe Lacob to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. Buss appeared hesitant to consider any deal unless LeBron himself indicated a desire to leave. This notion seemed plausible, especially given LeBron’s recent activity on social media, such as a tweet featuring an hourglass, hinting at urgency as the Lakers approached the deadline to make a significant move. Additionally, LeBron has kept quiet about his potential free agency status this summer.

Buss directed the Warriors to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, who is also the CEO of Klutch Sports and represents Draymond Green. Interestingly, Green played a key role in motivating Lacob’s pursuit of LeBron. He even personally contacted Paul in an effort to convince him to present the idea of LeBron teaming up with Stephen Curry and the Warriors. According to ESPN:

If the Lakers were looking for confirmation of James’ commitment, this was his chance to affirm it. Ultimately, just before the trade deadline, both the Warriors and Lakers were given a clear answer: Rich Paul informed Lacob and Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. that James had no interest in being traded and wished to remain with the Lakers, according to sources. Likewise, when Dunleavy Jr. reached out to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka before the deadline, he received a similar response: the Lakers were determined to keep James, sources disclosed.

Even with LeBron and Curry at later stages of their careers, the notion of them teaming up would have caused a stir online. Despite not being in their prime, both are still recognized as top-tier talents and their skill sets would have complemented each other well on the court.

To acquire James, the Warriors could have considered various trade scenarios. One option might have involved offering two future first-round picks along with Chris Paul and Andrew Wiggins to match salaries (assuming the Lakers include Christian Wood, hypothetically). Alternatively, they could have explored a trade package centered around Klay Thompson. In exchange, the Lakers would likely have sought Jonathan Kuminga.

However, none of these hypotheticals materialized into actual deals. Interestingly, the Warriors weren’t the sole team interested in acquiring James from the Lakers. Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey also made inquiries about the possibility.

Additional insights from the ESPN report include:

According to sources, Dunleavy Jr. was the second team executive to reach out to Pelinka regarding a potential trade involving James. This inquiry came shortly after James posted a cryptic message on social media featuring an hourglass, approximately a week before the trade deadline.

Daryl Morey, the President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers, also contacted Pelinka about the possibility of trading for James after seeing the same post. However, Morey was promptly informed that James was not available for trade. Interestingly, Pelinka responded to Morey’s inquiry by asking about the availability of Joel Embiid, which effectively ended the conversation.

These bold trade inquiries align with Morey’s proactive approach, as he reportedly reached out to the Phoenix Suns before the deadline to explore a trade for Durant. Upon being informed that Durant was not up for trade, Morey then inquired about the availability of Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. However, sources indicate that these inquiries were met with similar responses of rejection.

Morey has a reputation for setting lofty targets. Although he didn’t miss the mark completely—successfully acquiring Buddy Hield for the Sixers—there’s potential for even more ambitious maneuvers. Given the Sixers’ ability to create substantial cap space, they could potentially chase after LeBron this summer should he opt out of his contract with the Lakers. Speculation regarding this possibility is likely to endure. However, for now, despite the determined pursuits of two prominent franchises, LeBron James remains firmly with the Lakers.


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