Hated Rival Listed as No. 1 Trade Destination for Lakers Superstar by Insider

lebron james

Getty LeBron James & Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to sign LeBron James to another contract extension in the near future. According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka told the superstar that he wants him to retire a Laker. It’s likely that LeBron wants that, as well, but he’s not going to commit to a team that isn’t in a position to win.

There’s still time for Los Angeles to make moves but the roster doesn’t look like a championship-level roster right now. LeBron is 37 and wouldn’t be as popular on the trade market as he would’ve been a decade ago. That said, he should still garner plenty of interest around the league. If the Lakers aren’t in LeBron’s future, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer believes that the Phoenix Suns would be the best destination for the superstar:

LeBron is BFFs with Chris Paul and old friends with James Jones, and Phoenix is just a short flight away from Los Angeles. The Suns want Durant. Wouldn’t they also want LeBron? Phoenix is a great city itself, Arizona has lower taxes than California, and it’s just a short flight from Los Angeles. LeBron would get accused of riding coattails, but the Suns fell short in 2020-21, looked beatable in 2021-22, and are getting a little long in the tooth in 2022-23.

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Lakers Won’t Trade LeBron to Suns

The Suns make a ton of sense for LeBron. He’d get to play with his close friend Chris Paul on a championship contender. Paul, LeBron and Devin Booker would form a fierce trio. Deandre Ayton is also there but he would likely need to get moved in a LeBron trade. Adding the future Hall of Famer would easily make the Suns title favorites next season and perhaps for a couple of more.

From the Lakers’ perspective, trading LeBron to the Suns makes no sense. They’ve already mortgaged their future for LeBron so trading him now doesn’t make much sense unless they get a great offer. Also, the Suns and the Lakers are rivals that share a border. Owner Jeanie Buss can’t love the idea of LeBron being that close to Los Angeles if he’s traded. Anything is possible but the Lakers would likely look at other teams if they were to trade LeBron.

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LeBron Doesn’t Want to Leave L.A.

At the end of the day, LeBron wants to be a Laker right now. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the superstar would prefer to stay in Los Angeles going forward. He obviously wants to win and play on a good team but he might be more lenient with the Lakers due to their location.

Even if LeBron doesn’t sign an extension, his future could still be in Los Angeles. A team like the Suns would be appealing but getting there isn’t so simple. While the Lakers haven’t always done whatever LeBron wants, they have done a lot for him. They mortgaged their future to get Anthony Davis and continue to try and make deals to improve the team. It’s easy to forget that LeBron wanted Russell Westbrook on the team and they made it happen. He knows the Lakers are willing to do what it takes to win so he’ll likely stick around unless this upcoming season is another disaster.

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