The Los Angeles Lakers have entered an offseason that needs to be treated very delicately. With a new coach eventually going to be hired, the team needs to have a perfect offseason to get back into title contention. If there is no path back to the NBA Finals, many have speculated that the Lakers could blow things up and trade LeBron James while he still has value.
No legitimate reports have suggested the team has any interest in doing that but everything has to be on the table after such a bad season. Though Magic Johnson isn’t technically a member of the organization right now, he was the one who got LeBron to Los Angeles. His voice carries a lot of weight with team owner Jeanie Buss. He recently had a chance to address the idea of LeBron getting traded and made it known where he stands.
“‘LeBron I hope will be a Laker for a long time,” Johnson told TMZ Sports.
Johnson would likely be one of the first people Buss would reach out to if she started to entertain the idea of trading LeBron. Knowing where he stands makes it feel a lot less likely the superstar will be moved unless he specifically requests it.
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Lakers & LeBron Don’t Appear to Want a Trade
It’s easy to look at the Lakers now and think of them as a disaster that LeBron would want to run from. However, it was less than two years ago when he won a championship with the team. They may have won a second one had Anthony Davis not gotten hurt last season during the playoffs.
Sam Amick of The Athletic recently reported that Buss wouldn’t even consider a trade if LeBron didn’t sign a contract extension this offseason. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst then reported later that LeBron doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles and still believes he can win with the Lakers. While it’s fun to speculate what kind of trades the team could make, it appears unlikely that he’ll be going anywhere.
Things Could Always Change
LeBron will almost certainly be a Laker this season. He has one year left on his contract and has never requested a trade before. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers should get arrogant about his future with the team. They need to show a commitment to winning in the coming months. That will start with the head coaching hire. They should be taking LeBron’s opinions into account in the coaching search.
If they don’t and hire somebody he doesn’t approve of, things could start to sour. Coupling that with a bad offseason that sees Russell Westbrook and much of the same roster return could put LeBron over the edge. Whether or not the superstar decides to sign an extension this offseason will be very telling. If not, the possibility of him leaving the Lakers becomes much stronger. The team needs to keep that in mind as they operate. Losing LeBron for nothing next offseason would be a nightmare scenario.