What a LeBron-to-Warriors trade may have looked like before the deadline

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

While last week's trade deadline passed with little activity from the Golden State Warriors, it's now been revealed the franchise made an audacious bid for one of the league's greatest ever players -- LeBron James.

In an explosive report on Wednesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says that "Golden State owner Joe Lacob reached out to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss", and then James' agent Rich Paul, but were categorically rejected on both fronts.

The bid reportedly came with the encouragement of Warriors' veteran Draymond Green who is also represented by Klutch Sports. James and Green were seen at the Super Bowl together on Sunday just days after the deadline.

What would the Golden State Warriors have offered the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster deal for LeBron James at the deadline?

Wojnarowski reports that "the Warriors were eager to present a package deal to L.A., but neither the Lakers nor James were willing to explore a potential blockbuster." A James-to-Golden State trade would have paired him with fellow all-time great Stephen Curry, forming what could have been one of the best duos in NBA history.

But even if the Lakers and/or James were willing to explore a potential move, there's no saying whether or not the Warriors could even put a package on the table that would have been enough for the four-time MVP.

Even at 39-years-old and in his 21st NBA season, James remains one of the league's most dominant players. He is averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists, shooting 52% from the floor and 39.5% from three-point range.

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

So, what would the Warriors have offered for James and his $47.6 million salary? The start of a deal would likely include Gary Payton II, Kevon Looney, Moses Moody and future first-round picks, with Golden State then needing to shed one of their bigger salaries to make the finances work.

Klay Thompson is making $43.2 million and would subsequently have been the easiest to move in terms of salary matching. However, Golden State may have been hesitant to move one of their franchise legends even for James.

Trading Chris Paul may have been the Warriors' preferred option, but his friendship with James may have been a key part in trying to lure the Laker superstar in the first place. Andrew Wiggins would have therefore becoming the likely option, and also makes the most sense as a like-for-like swap positionally.

A Paul/Wiggins + Payton, Looney, Moody and picks package would have likely been rejected by the Lakers, who would have desired third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga and perhaps impressive Golden State rookie Brandin Podziemski. The Warriors made it clear that Kuminga was 'virtually untouchable' in trade talks before the deadline, though it's unclear whether that extended to a potential James trade.

Golden State's best hope of getting a good deal would have been Los Angeles feeling pressured by the threat of James opting out of his $51.4 million player option for next season and walking in free agency.

In the end trade talks didn't even get that far, though as Wojnarowski reports, "the Warriors could revisit a pursuit in the offseason". That makes the end of each team's season even more fascinating, particularly given the Warriors and Lakers will play a further three times over the next two months.