LeBron James Tried Recruiting Damian Lillard in 2018

When LeBron James recruits point guards, he goes for the superstars!

After James teamed up with Stephen Curry for the first time in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, it was rumored that LeBron wanted to make the arrangement more permanent should Curry decline to sign an extension with the Golden State Warriors and become a free agent in 2022.

Now, reports have surfaced that James has been eyeing another superstar point guard to team up with for some time, as former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough believes that the four-time NBA MVP tried to recruit Damian Lillard three years ago.

(Quote transcribed by Audacy’s John Healy):

“LeBron James has recruited superstar point guards before, who were under contract with another team,” he said. “We mentioned Steph Curry, but LeBron recruited Damian Lillard a few years ago, quietly, behind-the-scenes — I think it was in 2018 shortly after LeBron signed in LA with the Lakers.

Damian Lillard… is one of the best players in the entire league, an MVP candidate, is very loyal to Portland and the Trail Blazers. But LeBron did recruit him, Scal, my sources tell me LeBron reached out to Lillard and said, ‘Hey, join me in LA and come play for the Lakers’ and Lillard obviously refused.”

If LeBron tried to recruit Dame in the 2018 season, Lillard’s decision to join the Lakers could have prevented them from finishing 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-45 record and James missing 27 games.

However, that following offseason, the Lakers would land their big superstar acquisition in superstar Anthony Davis and go on to win the 2020 NBA Championship.