Warriors

NBA rumors: LeBron James trade was contemplated by Lakers owner Jeanie Buss

NBA rumors: LeBron James trade was contemplated by Lakers owner Jeanie Buss

There's drama, and then there's drama with LeBron James on the Lakers. 

There's rumors, and then there's this: Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher states a team source says Lakers owner Jeanie Buss contemplated trading LeBron James to terminate the team's relationship with agent Rich Paul because of mishandling of trade talks with the Pelicans and Anthony Davis. 

This comes less than a week after ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy suggested the Lakers should trade James. In Bucher's piece, however, his source told him the idea was on Buss' mind weeks before Van Gundy said the team should explore the move while broadcasting a Celtics-Lakers game. 

Let's take a step back. The Lakers' season has been a disaster this year. That's certainly true. LeBron has had his faults and distractions to start his Lakers tenure. Also true. While both statements ring true, what's most clear is the team is not going to trade LeBron James. 

They're not. 

The Lakers go into Thursday as the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference with a 31-36 record. When they signed LeBron this past offseason, their sights were set on taking down the Warriors and hanging another championship banner in the Staples Center. Now, there's virtually no shot of them even making the playoffs. 

But nobody envisioned a 34-year-old James to finally go down to a tough injury. Or half of the Lakers roster to miss significant time. The Lakers haven't just been bitten by an injury bug, but chewed, swallowed and spit out by a Black Bear. 

When James suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day in the Lakers' 127-101 win over the Warriors, Los Angeles was the No. 6 seed in the West with a 20-14 record. LeBron then missed 17 games, with the Lakers going 6-11. 

[RELATED: Steph Curry's 31st birthday provides Warriors star a chance to reflect]

The Lakers' season spiraled in James' absence and they never recovered. You don't trade one of the greatest players of all time because of a tough start, and you definitely don't to be petty. Well, actually that happens all too often, but it won't be happening in Hollywood. 

Once again though, there's drama, and then there's LeBron on the Lakers.

Watch Steph Curry try to freestyle rap at his charity golf tournament

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AP

Watch Steph Curry try to freestyle rap at his charity golf tournament

Steph Curry makes playing basketball look easy, but the same cannot be said about his rapping. 

The Warriors star grabbed the microphone at the Stephen Curry Charity Classic at TPC Harding Park on Monday, and freestyled ... well, something. 

"I don't know where this ball's going, and I'm sure not good at flowing," Curry rapped. 

The former line is self-deprecation, considering Curry's handicap. The latter? That's spot-on. 

[RELATED: Why NBA's new tampering proposal won't make a difference]

During his time at Davidson College, Curry and his friends rapped about a campus cafeteria in a parody set to the tune of Asher Roth's "I Love College." Much like Curry's magical NCAA tournament run foreshadowed his NBA success, his rapping on the decade-old video did the same for Monday's display. 

As far as NBA point guards with Oakland ties go, the rapping should only be left to Damian Lillard

Warriors counted on Mike Dunleavy Jr. in D'Angelo Russell trade, draft

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AP

Warriors counted on Mike Dunleavy Jr. in D'Angelo Russell trade, draft

Mention the name Mike Dunleavy Jr. to a Warriors fan, and you're likely to get a sour face in response.

The No. 3 overall pick of the 2002 NBA draft never lived up to his potential over four-plus seasons in Golden State, and his seemingly relaxed disposition on the court didn't endear him any further. He was quite a talent drop-off from the first two picks of that draft -- Yao Ming and Jay Williams -- and he was selected six picks ahead of Amar'e Stoudemire, among others.

In fact, arguably the most helpful thing he ever did for the Warriors was be involved in the trade that brought Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington over from the Indiana Pacers.

Time heals all wounds, though, and Dunleavy recently was involved in an important Warriors trade once again.

Dunleavy is back with Golden State, having rejoined the franchise as a pro scout last season. But as The Athletic's Anthony Slater reported Tuesday, it was his involvement in the sign-and-trade for D'Angelo Russell on July 1 that had plenty to do with his elevation to his current position of assistant general manager.

On the night of June 30, Dunleavy sat in a Manhattan hotel room with Warriors general manager Bob Myers, trying to figure out how Golden State would proceed after learning that Kevin Durant was taking his talents to Brooklyn.

"Bob knew before everybody else, so that gave us a little bit more time to figure out what’s next,” Dunleavy told Slater. “But once that 6 p.m. time slot hit, things started flying. There was so much real-time action, intel collecting."

Having been based in New York for his scouting duties, Dunleavy got plenty of exposure to Russell during his time with the Nets, which aided in the Warriors' assessment of the dynamic guard.

"I didn’t see D’Angelo Russell play live 10, 20 times (like Mike),” Myers said. “There’s never been more information available, whether it’s analytics, your ability to watch tape, see games, dig into numbers. But I don’t think any of it is a substitute for actually going to a game in person, talking to coaches and watching the whole day develop, from when the player gets there to warm up, the stuff fans don’t see, interacting on a closer level, how they act when they get subbed out, how they react to winning and losing."

While Myers is at the head of the Warriors' basketball operations department, he encourages a collaborative decision-making process. When it came time to decide on Russell, Dunleavy's familiarity was utilized.

"When we were faced with that short window of time, we certainly asked him,” Myers revealed. “He gave a rundown of where he thought he improved, his strengths, potential weaknesses, fit, all that."

The rest, as they say, is history.

With input from Dunleavy, Golden State made the gutsy decision to complete the sign-and-trade for Russell, which required the Warriors to depart with Andre Iguodala and multiple draft picks. The frantic events of the opening hours of free agency actually served to cement Dunleavy's interest in that kind of work, rather than deter it.

"I kind of got addicted to it," Dunleavy admitted.

Over the course of last season, Dunleavy grew more involved in the draft process. He attended several Villanova games, where he studied Golden State's eventual second-round pick Eric Paschall, and was present for the entirety of the Big Ten Tournament, where he saw future first-round pick Jordan Poole play three times. Dunleavy then joined the rest of the front office in Oakland for the remainder of the pre-draft process, including the evaluation of prospect workouts.

[RELATED: Iguodala planned to teach math before titles with Warriors]

Given who the Warriors ultimately selected in the draft, it's evident Golden State liked what Dunleavy had to say about both Poole and Paschall. Then, after he had further proven his value during the madness of the opening hours of free agency, Myers quickly offered Dunleavy his new elevated role.

"I’m not so arrogant to think I know more than he knows about an NBA offense," Myers conceded. "So I’m just positing questions to him. He takes a deeper look -- kind of like Andre (Iguodala) and Shaun (Livingston) -- just a brilliant basketball mind. It kind of comes naturally."

Dunleavy's first go-around with the Warriors was rocky, to say the least. But if Russell proves to be a good acquisition and the draft picks pan out, the second one will be a lot smoother.