Report: Some around NBA think LeBron may be trying to weaken foes in West with talks of Draymond to Lakers emerging

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been in the news recently for his decision to punch teammate Jordan Poole during a recent practice.

Green’s actions landed him a fine from Golden State, and it has led to speculation around the league that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and Green could play together on the Lakers.

“I can tell you right now, [Andrew] Wiggins and Poole are a priority,” Stephen A. Smith said. “I can tell you right now that Draymond Green is expecting this to be his last year in Golden State. Now, he wanna be a Laker. He ain’t gonna tell anybody that, but don’t think I don’t know. He’d prefer to be a Laker if he gotta leave Golden State.”

Some people around the league believe that James might be trying to weaken L.A.’s competition in the West.

“There have been rumors out there circulating about Draymond Green and the Los Angeles Lakers,” HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto said. “Obviously, he has a relationship with LeBron James. Some in the Warriors’ organization I’ve spoken to aren’t concerned about it. There’s a belief from some around the league it could be a negotiating tactic to get more money in extension talks with the Warriors, and maybe LeBron is trying to weaken the competition in the West. The Lakers have always been connected to star players like Draymond and Kyrie Irving, looking ahead to next summer’s offseason.”

Right now, the Warriors would have to trade Green to the Lakers for him to land there, and since the team has decided to not suspend the veteran forward for his punch, it’s unlikely that would happen this season.

However, there could be a path for Green to join Los Angeles if he opts out of his contract following the 2022-23 season. Green, who has a player option for the 2023-24 NBA season, could become an unrestricted free agent if he opts out.

Obviously, the Warriors would hate to lose Green, as he is an important part of their defense and fantastic playmaker. However, if the team is unable to rebound from the incident between Green and Poole, it could make sense for Green and the Warriors to eventually go their separate ways.

Last season for the Warriors, Green averaged 7.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game while shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 29.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Golden State went on to win the NBA title, defeating the Boston Celtics in six games. It was the fourth title the team has won with Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the way.

While James and Green certainly have a strong relationship, it seems like the rumor won’t be much more than that until Green’s contract status for next season is figured out.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.