LeBron James could get traded by the Los Angeles Lakers for a $172 million star this offseason.
In a January 9 column titled “NBA Execs Advised to ‘Be Prepared’ on Lakers-LeBron James Trade,” Heavy Sports senior insider Sean Deveney published quotes he got from an Eastern Conference executive. The exec said the Lakers can trade James to the Phoenix Suns if the four-time MVP requests a trade this summer.
“If he is going to play Old Home Week, then there is the very strong connection he has with (Suns GM) James Jones and (point guard) Chris Paul,” the exec told Deveney. “But it is an easy deal to make if you’re the Suns. They need a kickstart here.”
Multiple teams are preparing for the possibility that James will request a trade from the Lakers this offseason, per Deveney. Los Angeles has struggled since winning the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat at the Walt Disney World bubble.
“It’s in the background if you think you have a chance at him. There are preparations being made just in case. You have to make them. Like the Boy Scouts used to say, ‘Be Prepared,’” one general manager told Deveney. “It will not be an easy thing to do and there are a lot of factors. There’s still a chance the Lakers make a trade this year or that something clicks and they go on a run. You can’t count that out. And they will have a chance to do something that (James) likes in free agency this summer, something that could change the outlook there.
“But since he went to L.A. (in 2018), there has been this certainty that he was going to finish up (his career) in Los Angeles, that he wanted to be an entertainment mogul and that he needed to be in Hollywood for that. He is realizing that he is only going to get one shot at how he finishes his basketball career, though, and that the movie stuff will always be there. He doesn’t want his time playing basketball to end missing the playoffs every year for the Lakers.”
The Lakers Could Get Deandre Ayton & Landry Shamet from the Suns for LeBron James
The Lakers could get Deandre Ayton and Landry Shamet from the Suns for James, who signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers in August. The four-time Finals MVP has a player option for the 2024-25 season and is eligible to be traded this summer.
“It would be a simple trade for both sides, the Lakers getting back 24-year-old center Deandre Ayton, along with Landry Shamet for salary ballast, and the Suns taking on James,” Deveney wrote.
James, 38, has a strong relationship with Suns general manager James Jones and All-Star point guard Chris Paul. James and Paul, two of the greatest players in NBA history, have always wanted to play together, league sources told Heavy Sports.
“It’s the one place he’d be welcome with open arms,” an NBA scout told Ric Bucher of Fox Sports in November. “In Phoenix, with LeBron, I think Chris would finally get his ring.”
Reporter Close to LeBron James Gives His Thoughts
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin is close with James. He covered the King in Cleveland and is now with him in Los Angeles.
McMenamin said on the January 10 episode of “The Lowe Post Show” that he thinks James will finish his career with the Lakers.
“I think if he had his druthers, he plays on the Lakers until he hangs it up,” McMenamin said. “Bronny James is on the Lakers. And the Lakers are back in the playoffs every single season. I think that would be enough. It’s not championship or bust. It’s competitive basketball or bust. I think that’s his breaking point.”
James recently told McMenamin that the last thing he wants to accomplish in the NBA is playing with his son, Bronny James.