It’s been one step forward, two steps back for the Los Angeles Lakers all season. The team just can’t get into the groove of things. They are less than two years removed from a championship so it’s remarkable how quickly they’ve gone from powerhouse to mediocre.
The offseason trade for Russell Westbrook has proven disastrous. He hasn’t been playing like the same player who won the MVP in 2017. Considering what the Lakers gave up to get for him, they could have set themselves back years. Unfortunately for LeBron James, he doesn’t have very many years left. The 37-year-old has played incredibly well this season and could win the scoring title.
Even though he’s getting up there in age, it’s likely that he has some good years left in the NBA. Some believe that trying to stick it out with the Lakers could be a mistake if he hopes to win another championship. Former New York Knicks forward Charles Oakley wants to see LeBron request a trade to either the Philadelphia 76ers or Phoenix Suns.
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” Oakley told Shannon Sharpe on Club Shay Shay. “He may need to get out of L.A. He needs a ring. He might need to leave to get it. Two places he could probably get it is Philadelphia or Phoenix.”
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Would Lakers Trade LeBron?
At this juncture, LeBron would clearly have an easier time winning another title with the Suns or 76ers. In fact, there are many teams in the NBA that would offer the future Hall of Famer a better chance at a title. However, it’s easier said than done. The Suns certainly wouldn’t be a realistic option unless they made a massive offer. The Lakers aren’t going to trade their best player to a rival in the Western Conference in the Pacific Division.
Now, the 76ers would make more sense considering they’re across the country but they also don’t have many appealing assets to the Lakers after the James Harden trade. It’s possible that LeBron forces his way out in a trade but his value might be limited due to his age. The Lakers wouldn’t let him go unless it was worth it.
LeBron Has Said He Wants to Stay With Lakers
LeBron is at the point in his career where he’s not going to play somewhere he doesn’t want to be. Right now, he clearly wants to be in Los Angeles. His family is comfortable there now and he’s got business affairs tied up in the city. He even recently said that he doesn’t envision himself playing elsewhere.
“This is a franchise I see myself being with. I’m here. I’m here,” LeBron said last month, via ESPN. “I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play.”
It’s been a tough year for LeBron and the Lakers but he also won a championship less than two years ago. If Anthony Davis can get healthy and the team retools the roster in the offseason, it’s possible they’ll be back in title contention quickly.