The LeBron James trade rumors are not going anywhere despite the superstar once again publicly pledging his commitment to the Los Angeles Lakers. If James does not sign a contract extension this offseason, the Lakers will be faced with a decision on whether to ride out the final year of the legend’s deal and risk losing the All-Star for nothing.
Heavy has already outlined the Cavaliers and Knicks as plausible landing spots, even though a blockbuster trade for James remains unlikely. Another team to watch is the Heat as long as Pat Riley is in charge in Miami. Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd floated a wild trade idea where the Lakers would send James to the Heat in exchange for Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and three first-round draft picks.
“Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, bunch of draft picks, go for it,” Cowherd explained during a February 28 edition of “The Herd”. “But the Lakers would want Bam [Adebayo], and they don’t want to give up Bam and Bam’s really good. He’s not Giannis, he’s not Embiid. He’s not that, but he’s really good. …To me, that’s the team that works because I think that team lacks sort of a dynamic person with the ball in their hands.”
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James on Lakers: ‘This Is the Franchise That I See Myself Being With’
The idea of trading James was once unthinkable, but the Lakers are in danger of missing the playoffs even with the superstar in the lineup. James’ media tour during All-Star weekend fueled speculation that the star potentially has one foot out the door in Los Angeles. The Lakers star did his best to dismiss this notion during a February 25 press conference.
“This is the franchise that I see myself being with,” James told reporters. “…I’m here, I’m here, I continue to tell you guys… I literally live in the moment. I do, I live in the moment and I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play. But I also have a goal that, if it’s possible, I don’t even know if it’s possible, but if I can play with my son, I would love to do that.”
Herro Is the Favorite to Win the Sixth Man of the Year Award
The Lakers had an interest in adding Lowry ahead of the 2021 trade deadline but were reluctant to include Talen Horton-Tucker in the deal with the Raptors. Lowry is averaging 13.4 points, 7.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 35.6% from long range for the Heat this season.
Herro is the favorite to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. The guard is averaging 20.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists while hitting 37.8% of his threes during the 2021-22 season. Robinson would provide the Lakers with additional scoring off the bench as the wing is averaging 11.1 points and 2.9 rebounds this season.
What Is LeBron’s Trade Value?
In these hypothetical Lakers-Heat trade talks, Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka is sure to push for Bam Adebayo or Jimmy Butler. Yet, the Heat trading either player would likely end the Heat’s championship hopes, even with James in the lineup. It is challenging to gauge James’ value despite his legendary status.
James will be 38 years old next season and has already made it known he wants to play on the same team with his son Bronny James if he is able to make it to the league. The 18-time All-Star is averaging a gaudy 29 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists during the 2021-22 season.
James does not have a no-trade clause, but the Lakers are unlikely to deal the star to a team that would not have his approval for fear of ruining the franchise’s relationship with Klutch Sports. It will be interesting to see if a team will present the Lakers with an enticing offer that prompts the front office to do the unthinkable.