The moment LeBron James publicly stated his future was a question mark, fans and analysts everywhere immediately started tossing hypotheticals around.
One idea that popped up immediately was King James heading North to join Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer was among the first to float the idea, citing James’ close friendship with Draymond Green and LeBron’s previous comments in 2022 about being amenable to joining the Warriors as reasons the move could happen.
“Going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about,” James said after the Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets, admitting he would have to decide whether or not he wanted to continue playing.
On the May 24 episode of FS1’s First Things First, co-hosts Nick Wright and Chris Broussard were discussing LeBron’s future and Wright proposed the following trade: The Lakers send LeBron to the Dubs in exchange for Jordan Poole, Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga.
Wright: Bron to Dubs ‘Could Make a Lot of Sense’
Wright thinks sending three young players to L.A. (Poole is 23 and Kuminga and Moody are both just 20) could help the Lakers build for the future while also giving Golden State’s veterans — particularly Green — another ally and strong presence on the court. Green and James have been friends for years, and after a preseason incident in 2022 where Green punched Poole during a team practice, Poole has been the subject of trade rumors.
Poole had a solid season in 2022-23, averaging 20.4 points a game while shooting 43% from the field and 33.6% from 3-point range, but his numbers were arguably better the year prior, when he scored 18.5 points a game while shooting 44.8% from the floor and 36.4 from downtown.
“The idea would be that Kuminga and Mooney could one day ascend to what they were drafted to be, and that Poole is the guy he was a year ago without the cloud of Draymond hanging over him,” Wright said, adding: “Basketball-wise, it could make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons.”
Wright Thinks Green Might Take Less Money If LeBron Comes to Town
Green is due over $27 million next season, per Spotrac, and he has a player option, so he’ll have a lot to say about where he plays and how much he plays for should he ink an extension.
“I think Draymond would be amenable to way less money if Poole’s out (and) LeBron is in. The Warriors starting lineup would be Steph, Klay (Thompson), LeBron, Draymond and (Kevon) Looney, with (Andrew) Wiggins and Gary Payton off the bench. That team wins the title.”
As for James, he has two years left on the extension he signed with L.A. and he’s due just under $47 million next season and over $50 million in 2024-25, when he also has a player option. Golden State is currently over $100 million over the salary cap, so Green will likely have to take less if he stays regardless.
Wright isn’t alone in his thinking. Analyst Colin Cowherd also put together a similar trade involving the Lakers and Warriors.
“LeBron wants to play with ballers now,” Cowherd said on the May 24 episode of The Herd. “You watched Steph against Sacramento, best player in the series. LeBron watched that too. You think on off nights, LeBron wasn’t watching Steph Curry? He knows Draymond Green’s an elite defender so he doesn’t have to guard guys on the wing, Draymond will do that. Looney will do the rebounding.”
James averaged 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists in the 2023 playoffs. During the regular season, he scored 28.9 points and hauled in 8.3 rebounds. There’s little doubt he’d be an asset to the Dubs’ lineup, but money will be a big hurdle.
That doesn’t mean the whispers will stop, though.