Warriors’ Draymond Green Sets Record Straight on His Role in LeBron James Pursuit

Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis with Warriors stars Steph Curry and Draymond Green

Getty Draymond Green #23 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors jokes with Anthony Davis #3 and LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Golden State Warriors outspoken forward Draymond Green set the record straight about his role in the team’s failed attempt to land LeBron James at the trade deadline.

“Everybody wants to talk about the trade. No. 1, the facts that came out aren’t right,” Green said during TNT’s NBA All-Star Game Altcast on February 18.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported that it was Green, who encouraged Warriors owner Joe Lacob to initiate the trade talks and reached out to Rich Paul, his and James’ agent, to recruit the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

“Well, it came out almost like I’m initiating these talks,” Green said. “Like Draymond contacted LeBron. No, it came to my desk. Something came over to my desk, and I was like, ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’ Let me dive in a little bit.

“And so, you tend to use relationships and Rich [Paul] is my agent as well so I can have the conversation with Rich. But I didn’t initiate these talks, but there were talks.”

Ultimately, the trade talks did not progress as Paul and the Lakers shut it down on the eve of the trade deadline, according to the report.

Nonetheless, Green’s candid talk during the All-Star Game alternate broadcast was the first direct admission from both teams that talks indeed happen.

Warriors to Revisit LeBron James Pursuit in Summer

Even after James’ camp and the Lakers emphatically rejected them this past trade deadline, the Warriors will revisit that this summer, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

“The playoffs always inform the offseason. Everything I’ve heard for five years suggests James would prefer to finish his career as a Laker. Is that absolute? Who knows. There could be some breaking point at which the Lakers fall so far that James begins to look elsewhere. But the Lakers have one title and a conference finals appearance over the past four seasons. They 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.

If James decides in the summer he’s done with the Lakers, the Warriors will not have the necessary cap room to sign him outright unless he takes a massive discount. The Warriors are projected to have $174 million in salary next season, which is $33 million over the projected $141 million salary cap.

The only pathway for Warriors to land James is still via trade (opt-in and trade).

Steph Curry Still Far From Retirement

The Warriors’ aggressiveness in pursuing James is their latest attempt to maximize Stephen Curry‘s 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.