June 15, 2024

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green wanted to have Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James join him and Stephen Curry.

Potential Return Date for Draymond Green Suspension Revealed - Inside the  Warriors

But not at the expense of their rising star Jonathan Kuminga and Klay Thompson.

NBA legend Charles Barkley believes the Lakers would have asked for Thompson’s expiring contract and Kuminga had they advanced in the trade talks.

“But who said we were giving up Klay [Thompson] or Kuminga?” Green replied to Barkley during TNT’s NBA All-Star Game Altcast on February 18, 2024. “Alright, so check this out. Everybody wants to talk about the trade. No. 1, the facts that came out aren’t right.”

Green set the record straight that he did not initiate the idea of trading for James but only acted, texting their agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, when he was informed about it.

“But when I talked to [Warriors owner Joe Lacob] on the phone, and we were discussing what we’d have to give up, I said if it’s Kuminga, the answer’s no.”

If Kuminga and Thompson were off-limits, then that leaves Andrew Wiggins and Chris Paul as the salary ballasts plus draft capital.

It’s hard to imagine the Lakers would accept such a package unless James forces his way to the Warriors.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Warriors will revisit their James pursuit in the offseason.

“The playoffs always inform the offseason. … They (Lakers) will be able to trade three first-round picks this summer, and league sources expect them to search for a difference-making perimeter talent. That does not mean the Warriors will give up their pursuit of James,” Lowe wrote on February 16.

Zach Lowe’s Potential LeBron James Trade Package

Like Barkley, Lowe also believes that it’s hard to imagine the Lakers wouldn’t seek Kuminga and Thompson in exchange for James.

“The Lakers would surely ask for one or both of Jonathan Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski, two players driving the Warriors’ reinvention and Golden State’s last, best shot at a bridge from one Curry era to another — and beyond. Chris Paul would likely be in the deal for salary-matching purposes. Depending on the other elements, the Warriors might also have to include one of Andrew Wiggins and Klay Thompson. (Given his role as trade-concoction middleman and star Klutch client, Draymond Green would presumably remain in Golden State.),” Lowe wrote.

If the Warriors would take a second shot at landing James, it has to be via the trade route again as they do not have the necessary cap room to sign him outright if he declines his $51.4 million player option for next season.

Steph Curry ‘Thinks About Retirement All the Time’

The Warriors’ aggressiveness in pursuing James shows they are all-in on Curry, trying to maximize his remaining championship window.

Turning 36 on March 14, Curry has no desire to retire any time soon as he is still playing at an elite level and still the league’s best 3-point shooter.

“I think about it all the time. But, those thoughts stop because you gotta get ready for the next game,” Curry told reporters before he played his 10th All-Star game. “There’s a routine and cycle. You embrace the now. Eventually, you’ll get to a point where you wake up and whatever your body is telling you, or if your mind is telling you it’s time. But, I don’t think I’m anywhere close to that.”

Curry has two more years left in his deal after this season.

Alder Almo is a basketball journalist covering the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors for Heavy. He has more than 15 years of experience in local and international media, including broadcast, print and digital. He previously covered the Knicks for Empire Sports Media and the NBA for Off the Glass. Alder is from the Philippines and is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey. More about Alder Almo

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