Warriors' veteran adamant on not giving up rising star in trade for LeBron James

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

The NBA was left startled last week with revelations the Golden State Warriors had made an audacious bid to acquire LeBron James ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.

While the idea was shut down without talks going too far, the Warriors’ interest in James did, at the very least, incite a conversation about what they would have to give up to get the 39-year-old.

Draymond Green is adamant that the Golden State Warriors wouldn’t have included Jonathan Kuminga in a LeBron James trade before the deadline

If the Lakers had entertained a trade offer from Golden State, it’s likely that third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga would have been a sticking point for both sides.

Just two months ago the Warriors may have happily sacrificed Kuminga if they were getting one of the all-time greats in return. Now, it appears the 21-year-old may have more value than the four-time MVP.

The discussion reached the alternate TNT broadcast of Sunday’s All-Star Game in Indiana, with Charles Barkley and Golden State forward Draymond Green approaching the subject in the wake of Wednesday’s report.

In the ESPN report by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, Green had been referenced as one of the main pieces in driving the Warriors’ interest in James.

However, the former Defensive Player of the Year was adamant that it would be a flat ‘no’ on a James trade if it meant giving up the franchise’s rising young star.

"When I talked to Joe (Lacob) on the phone and we were discussing what we'd have to give up, I said if it's Kuminga the answer's no."

Draymond Green

Barkley agreed that it would be a mistake on the Golden State front, claiming that the Lakers would take a Klay Thompson and Kuminga for James trade tomorrow if it was on the table.

While it’s easy for Green to say what he did in hindsight, the 33-year-old’s recent barrage of praise for Kuminga suggests his sentiment is very much true.

Green has been full of admiration for Kuminga over recent weeks, with the athletic forward having averaged 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and shooting 57% from the floor in his 15 games before the All-Star break.

As the ESPN report outlined, the Warriors could revisit a James trade in the offseason when he has a $51.4 million player option for 2024-25. If that were to arise, expect Kuminga to remain off-limits assuming the recent trajectory continues.