Explosive report reignites hypothetical LeBron James trade to Golden State Warriors

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The thought of LeBron James and Stephen Curry playing together has always been a hypothetical best left for NBA 2K, but that hasn't stopped fans from often contemplating its potential over recent years.

With the trade deadline less than a week away, the idea of a James trade to the Warriors has re-ignited following an explosive report that's put the 39-year-old's future well and truly in the spotlight.

Could the Golden State Warriors make a blockbuster trade for LeBron James before next week's trade deadline?

According to KTLA sports anchor and reporter David Pingalore, the Lakers have explored the idea of trading James before the deadline. While some are rightly sceptical, Pingalore's sources have been correct before regarding James' return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and Kawhi Leonard's free agency move to the LA Clippers in 2019.

So, why would the Lakers wish to trade one of the game's all-time greats? James' discontent has been palpable recently, including a cryptic tweet simply with an hourglass emoji. He also has a $51.4 million player option for next season, meaning the Lakers may want to find value now rather than lose him for nothing in free agency.

The idea of a James-to-Golden State trade has been proposed even before Pingalore's report, most notably from sports analyst Chris Broussard and NBA analyst/reporter Tom Haberstroh.

James' contract makes it difficult to match salaries, yet the Warriors are one team that could given the expiring deals of Klay Thompson and Chris Paul. Los Angeles would undoubtedly want young players and picks for their superstar, something Golden State could offer in the form of Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis and two available first-round picks.

The Warriors could theoretically keep both Thompson and Kuminga by trading Paul, Moody, Gary Payton II and picks for James, though you could foreseeably expect the Lakers to ask for much more.

Despite being halfway through his 21st NBA season, James remains one of the league's best players. He and Curry combined for 82 points in an enthralling contest between the Warriors and Lakers on Saturday night, with the four-time MVP also adding a season-high 20 rebounds and 12 assists in the double overtime thriller.

Shortly after Pingalore's report, the Lakers shocked the league-leading Boston Celtics with a 114-105 win at TD Garden despite the absence of both James and fellow star Anthony Davis.