The Lakers offseason has, needless to say, been an unmitigated disaster. Following a 6th straight postseason miss, a franchise record, the list of problems in Los Angeles is vast:
Magic Johnson steps down as president, Luke Walton gets fired (and then sued for sexual assault by former Spectrum reporter Kelli Tennant), Monty Williams chooses the Suns over the Lakers and Tyronn Lue steps away from botched negotiations.
The cherry on top would be if the Lakers jettisoned LeBron James in a trade (some actually think this would be a good thing). According to Gilles Gallant of OddsShark, there’s financial justification for trading away their one superstar this summer.
Gallant writes that the Lakers would get a “king’s ransom” in any trade for the 15-time All-Star.
Hypothetically, if the Knicks were to get the No. 1 overall pick in this June’s draft, they could seriously consider trading the pick that is assumed to be Zion Williamson for LeBron. That type of trade would make the Knicks instantly relevant again and put them in a position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The Knicks would also have room for another max salary cap slot and could pair LeBron with a high-profile free agent like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving.
He also provides the following odds of where LeBron will end up next season (per Bovada).
- Los Angeles Lakers -600
- New York Knicks +700
- Los Angeles Clippers +700
- Cleveland Cavaliers +1000
- Miami Heat +1000
- Chicago Bulls +1500
- Indiana Pacers +1800
LeBron James Lakers Trade Rumors
The ESPN rumor train on LeBron is in force. First, Stephen A. Smith said before the Milwaukee-Boston Game 5 on NBA Countdown that Jeannie Buss had been told to get rid of James.
Nothing is out of bounds right now,” Smith states. “We don’t know what the hell is going on in Los Angeles. You’ve got folks close to Jeanie Buss imploring her to trade LeBron.”
Jalen Rose explains that if Buss and her Lakers brain trust can’t find a head coach soon, James should “ask to be traded.” He added that not bringing in Tyronn Lue demonstrated the incompetence within the Los Angeles front office.
“This level of dysfunction is something I have not seen from this storied franchise,” Rose said. “They have not made the playoffs since the late great Dr. Jerry Buss passed away. And now all of the sudden you’re searching for a coach, you have a agent superstar in LeBron James, the draft is coming up, you have so many young players that you need to nurture. They need to understand the style of play going into next year – and you don’t want to pay Tyronn Lue, a champion, five years to be the coach?
“This guy has won a championship with LeBron James! He has all of the leverage. And he played with the Lakers!”
The likelihood is that LeBron sticks around for the remainder of his 4-year, $153 million contract. His kids go to school in Los Angeles. His roots are there for the moment.
If he’s not already applying pressure on Buss and Rob Pelinka, he may have to soon.