LeBron James is coming off one of the best years of his career while leading the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA title. While he’s shown no signs of slowing down, his age will catch up to him eventually. Whether that’s next year or five years from now remains to be seen.
With the rumors that Anthony Davis plans to stay in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future, it would appear the Lakers are set to be relevant for some time. However, if LeBron starts to slow down, the team is going to be in trouble. Davis might be the most talented player on the team but he’s not the most important.
At some point, the Lakers are going to need to pair another superstar with Davis. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report detailed a possible trade that could solve this problem before LeBron gets too old. He suggested an “absurd” trade that would send LeBron and JaVale McGee to the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz and the No. 21 draft pick (via OKC):
Ben Simmons functions in a similar role as a jumbo playmaker and punishing finisher at the basket. He doesn’t have James’ bulk or offensive versatility, but Simmons has more tools on defense and is nearly a dozen years younger. This package also provides a lockdown defender (Matisse Thybulle), a sharpshooter (Furkan Korkmaz) and a first-round pick to flesh out the rotation around Simmons and Davis.
If the Sixers decide they’ve taken the Simmons-Joel Embiid experiment as far as it can go, they’d rely on James’ basketball genius to make sense of their roster. Every franchise that has employed him has collected at least one championship as a result, and if he found the sweet spots for Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford, Philly could continue that trend.
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LeBron Trade Obviously Isn’t Happening
Hypotheticals are fun but LeBron isn’t getting traded. He just won a Finals MVP and he’s a big reason Davis would want to stay. He’s also still the best player in the world. By winning a championship, LeBron cemented himself as a Laker legend. He’s going to be an important part of this franchise going forward.
That said, the Lakers should already be thinking of how they can replace him once his age starts to hit him but he’s likely to retire with the team. Los Angeles is loyal to their legends and that’s not about to change.
Perhaps Simmons Comes to L.A. In the Future
Simmons isn’t leaving Philadelphia anytime soon due to a long contract he signed last year. However, he could be a free agent just in time for LeBron to retire. Simmons can be a free agent in 2025. LeBron will be closing in on 40 at that point and it’s hard to imagine he’ll still be able to lead a team.
Simmons is comparable to the Lakers star in terms of passing ability and size. If he can develop a shot, he’ll be among the NBA’s elite players. He’s represented by Klutch Sports, which also represents LeBron and Davis. Simmons coming in and replacing LeBron could make sense five years from now.