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Warriors, 76ers tried to acquire Lakers' LeBron James before deadline

Warriors, 76ers tried to acquire Lakers' LeBron James before deadline

The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers inquired about Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James prior to the NBA’s trade deadline on February 8, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob (with the encouragement of star forward Draymond Green) reached out to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to inquire about the availability of James in hopes of pairing him with longtime rival Stephen Curry. However, Buss (and James) quickly turned down Golden State.

After struggling to make waves all season, the Warriors attempted to add James at the deadline and extend their dynastic run. Even at 39 years old, James is still playing at a high level with a skill set that would complement Curry, Green and Klay Thompson.

ESPN reported: “Buss told Lacob the Lakers had no desire to trade James, but that he would need to seek the answer on James' state of mind from his agent, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, sources said. As an owner, Buss has operated with the mindset that she wants her star players content with the franchise, and that instructed her thinking on referring Warriors leadership to James' representation, sources said. 

"If the Lakers ever wanted a temperature check on James' commitment, here was his chance. In the end, the answer was returned resoundingly on the eve of the trade deadline: Paul told Lacob and Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr., that James had no interest in a trade and wanted to remain a Laker, sources said. When Dunleavy reached out to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka in those pre-trade deadline hours, Dunleavy had been told the same: The Lakers wanted to keep James."

Green, who is also represented by Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports, went the extra mile and asked Paul to help persuade James to come to Golden State, but to no avail.

“Earlier Wednesday, Green -- whom Paul also represents at Klutch -- had sent Paul a text message soliciting his help in convincing James to join him in Golden State, sources said. Once, Green had been a lead recruiter on Kevin Durant's free agency signing with Golden State, but this was a far different, far more futile 11th-hour pursuit," Wojnarowski and Shelburne reported.

Moreover, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey also joined in the LeBron James sweepstakes but was immediately denied by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. Wojnarowski and Shelburne revealed that Pelinka responded to Morey by asking if superstar Joel Embiid was available, but that immediately ended their trade conversation.

“Dunleavy was the second team executive call to Pelinka on a possible James trade, sources said. After seeing James' cryptic social media post of an hourglass a week before the trade deadline, Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey called Pelinka to probe on a James trade and was immediately told that James wasn't available," the report states. "In fact, Pelinka responded by asking Morey if Joel Embiid was available, sources said. And that ended that brief conversation.”

Ultimately, James stayed put in Los Angeles and two sides remain committed to each other for the rest of the season as they look to gain important positioning for the playoffs. The Lakers currently sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 29-26 record.

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