Warriors' "top secret" blockbuster trade play was "never, ever supposed to get out”

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

The Golden State Warriors sensationally made headlines earlier in the week with reports the franchise had made a bold move for Los Angeles Lakers' superstar LeBron James before the trade deadline.

While the bid was ultimately shot down by the Lakers and James' management before trade talks could even fully materialize, the fact the Warriors made a play at pairing the four-time MVP with Stephen Curry was massive news in itself.

The Golden State Warriors' daring play for LeBron James before the trade deadline was never supposed to become public

So huge was the news that the parties, at least all but one of them, had wanted to keep it completely private. Last Thursday's trade deadline was somewhat quiet in comparison to recent years, making Golden State's interest in James easily the most notable aspect in the week following.

ESPN's report was cultivated by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, with the latter now revealing how 'top secret' the conversations were supposed to be between the Warriors, Lakers and James' management.

"Everyone we called to check on it, I think their first reaction was, ‘How the hell did you hear about this?...’ Because like we use the word clandestine in the story, but it was. Another person said top secret. Like this was never, ever supposed to get out."

Ramona Shelburne
Stephen Curry, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Speculation has now arisen on where the leak would have come from in order for the details to emerge. It's unlikely to have been the Warriors given their failed pitch for James does little from a positive PR standpoint, aside from proving to their fans that they were indeed active at the deadline.

That leaves James' management or the Lakers, both of whom could have had motivation for leaking to the media. The news does benefit both the franchise and James in signalling that their committed to each other, though there's still the matter of the 39-year-old's player option for next season.

James can opt out of his $51.4 million option, with Wojnarowksi and Shelburne's report stating that the "Warriors could revisit a pursuit in the offseason." The Warriors and Lakers are each teetering at the All-Star break, sitting ninth and tenth in the Western Conference respectively.

Shelburne's latest comments do make you wonder how much trade-related discussion is had between General Managers in regard to superstar players, most of which probably doesn't end up in the media.