Why LeBron James joining the Warriors may only be a matter of time

LeBron James, Stephen Curry
LeBron James, Stephen Curry / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The trade deadline came and went, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors failing to make a major deal. However, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski states that the Warriors reached out to the Lakers ahead of the trade deadline to see about a potential deal for superstar LeBron James. Of course, Golden State likely knew that the Lakers wouldn't be interested, and they weren't.

Despite that, it doesn't mean that LeBron won't eventually be a Warrior. After all, they arguably have more talent, and teaming up with Steph Curry might guarantee him a fifth title.

LeBron has a team option for next season and could very well opt out and sign a much smaller deal with a potential contender. Or, he could opt-in with the understanding that the Lakers will trade him to the destination of his choosing, with them getting several assets for their trouble.

Why LeBron is joining the Warriors may only be a matter of time. 

If LeBron isn't willing to leave money on the table but is still dead set on joining the Warriors, they could trade for him. Chris Paul has a team option that the Warriors could pick up for next season, which would get them more than halfway to matching LeBron's $51 salary for 2024–25.

Golden State could also seek to offload Andrew Wiggins in the deal, whose contract would help them close the gap in terms of matching salary. Also, his play this season has been cause for concern since he's owed $90 million over the next three seasons.

But with the Lakers sure to take a major step back next season if they don't have LeBron, they may be willing to take Wiggins on in hopes he rehabs his value and also so they can demand more draft picks for doing so. Golden State opting not to make a deal at the trade deadline allowed them to preserve their assets, and they still have most of their picks, keeping the possibility of a big trade alive for the Warriors.

Whether LeBron ultimately joins the Warriors next season is ultimately up to him. That said, his decision could dramatically change the short-term future of both the Lakers and the Warriors.