LeBron James finally had a trade that he orchestrated go his way on Thursday. Unfortunately, that trade came in the context of a meaningless exhibition game.
Inside the NBA hosted the league’s first televised All-Star Draft, which featured the two captains, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, bantering with the show’s crew while selecting their teammates for the February 17 showcase. The jokes were about as dad-like as you’d expect, with Ernie Johnson being the main host James and Antetokounmpo spoke to during their picks. Giannis, to his credit, did manage to make one of the two good jokes that came from the show:
But the most surprising moment of this event came after the teams had been selected, when LeBron decided to put his GM hat on and propose a trade to the opposing captain.
LeBron: “Well since it’s that time of the year, Ernie, and I have a feeling that Giannis would love to see Russ [Westbrook] and [Joel] Embiid be teammates—because we know how much they get along—I’m proposing a Russell Westbrook for Ben Simmons trade.”
For context, Giannis had previously mentioned how he wanted to bring the two feuding sides of Embiid and Westbrook together through the magic of the All-Star Game, because he’s “all about love” and “a lover not a fighter.” LeBron apparently figured he could bring Simmons, who James had wanted but missed out on, to his team while bringing some minor chaos to the event. Unsurprisingly, Embiid reacted on Twitter.
The cherry on top of the whole event was Charles Barkley interjecting after Giannis agreed to the trade that the Greek Freak should consider trading his whole bench for Anthony Davis—which was the second good joke of the show.