If LeBron James doesn’t retire from the NBA, the Warriors have favorable odds to land the four-time champion in the offseason.
Nothing is set in stone yet, of course, not even close. Still, the NBA world will do what it does best — speculate — until James himself announces what he will decide to do for the 2023-24 season.
FOX Sports analyst Colin Cowherd proposed a potential James-to-the-Warriors trade that he believes will benefit both teams. Friendly warning, Cowherd urged listeners to take a deep breath before taking in his proposition.
“Yes, the Warriors are already old. Adding LeBron would get them one thing on the road: senior discounts. I admit it. Klay [Thompson] is 33. Steph [Curry] is 35. LeBron’s 38. Draymond [Green] is 33. It would feel like they’re punting on the future. Oh wait, they’ve already got rid of [James] Wiseman. They’ve already punted on their big guy for the future. And they said last week that Klay, Draymond and Steph is what they’re building around. They don’t care about their future.
“The Warriors love high-IQ guys. Veterans. You have to be on Steph’s timeline. You’ve got to be able to play in their system because it’s a high-IQ offensive system. Catch and react. Lebron is good at that. And they’re also into winning now. It’s why they moved off their No. 2 pick James Wiseman. It’s why [Jonathan] Kuminga, super athletic, doesn’t play in the playoffs. It’s about winning now.”
Why, or perhaps, who would Los Angeles feel comfortable trading away the 19-time All-Star for? Which Golden State players could turn their heads?
Cowherd provided a trade package that he believes would get the job done.
“[Andrew] Wiggins, Kuminga and Jordan Poole. It works,” Cowherd proclaimed. “With Rui [Hachimura] and [Anthony Davis]. Oh, it really works. So my wings would be Rui, Wiggins and Kuminga, I’ll sign up for that. Youth, coachable guys, ascending. My big would be AD near the rim. My guards would be no-ego Austin Reaves the grinder. Little bit of ego, a lot of attitude Jordan Poole. Austin Reaves and Jordan Poole. I can live with that. The Lakers owner and the GM have had to relinquish power to LeBron James. It’s what you do with LeBron. They’d get it back. Kuminga, Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Austin Reaves, AD, and the owner and the GM Rob Pelinka now run the franchise again.
“The Warriors, here’s two things we know about them, they are into winning now. That’s why they bailed on Wiseman. That’s why Kuminga doesn’t play. By the way, Draymond, Klay, Steph, LeBron, [Kevon] Looney — that’s arguably better than the team they had now. … What have I talked about with LeBron and AD? They were perfectly suited years ago. But LeBron’s now down to 55 to 60 regular-season games a year. Same with AD. They often miss the same night. You need more dudes. You can’t go into a game with Austin Reaves and Rui on the road in Denver with a chance.”
The Lakers entered the playoffs as the No. 7 seed and cruised their way into the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets only to get swept by the top seed and witness their season end on their home court.
Immediately after, Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported, citing league sources, that James is “unsure” if he will play next season and added that retirement is under consideration.
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James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2023-24 season and has a player option for the 2024-25 season. If he opted to play a 21st NBA season with another team, he would need to request a trade out of Los Angeles.
“The organization would get the power back — and a future,” Cowherd continued. “The Warriors would get one of the smartest players ever, Draymond Green and LeBron are tight, LeBron has said publicly, ‘I would love to play with Steph.’ ‘Golden State would be punting on their future,’ — they already have! That’s why Kuminga doesn’t play and why Wiseman’s gone. It’s why they talked about moving [Moses] Moody and Poole. And not about the future. New England [Patriots] at the end, that was one of Tom Brady’s frustrations, give me guys who can get open now.
“LeBron wants to play with ballers now. 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. LeBron essentially would take over in the Wiggins spot. They’d be better. Kuminga didn’t play in the playoffs anyway. I don’t know. I’ve heard crazier things.”
The current season hasn’t even come to a close, yet speculation about what will happen next season already is flooding the NBA world.
Buckle up, it’s just the beginning.
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