The future of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James continues to be the talk of the NBA. Given James’ unhappiness with the team’s lack of success, the Lakers may need to consider trading his running mate if the franchise wants to increase their chances of keeping the superstar in L.A.
One league executive pitched a trade idea to Heavy.com NBA editor Sean Deveney that could keep James happy. The challenge is the Lakers would deal Klutch Sports’ client Anthony Davis to the Nets, but Los Angeles would land Kyrie Irving in return. The NBA executive suggested that James “misses” playing with Irving, which is why the superstar pushed for the Russell Westbrook trade.
“Look, LeBron would never admit this, but he misses Kyrie,” the exec told Heavy. “Kyrie has admitted he misses LeBron, but it counts just as much going the other way. LeBron misses Kyrie. That is why he got Westbrook, he wanted that point guard who could take over games and take pressure off of him. That is what he had in Kyrie. He does not have that anymore.
“So yeah, if you are LeBron and you can talk AD into going to play with Durant in Brooklyn, you can do a clean swap, Kyrie for AD. If I am the Lakers though, I am pushing for a shooter, I want to get Joe Harris, take a chance he can get healthy. They can do THT [Talen Horton-Tucker] and AD for Harris and Kyrie, it is good for all sides.”
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Trading A.D. Is Complicated Since the Star is a Klutch Sports Client
The Lakers are in a difficult position with Davis as the team still owes the Pelicans first-round picks as part of the 2019 blockbuster deal to acquire the big man. Davis has not played in 75 or more games since the 2017-18 season. The Lakers big man appeared in just 36 regular season games during the 2020-21 season. This year has once again been defined by injuries for Davis as the superstar has had trouble staying on the floor.
The Lakers big man may be a Klutch Sports client, but if James really wants help a deal for Davis has to be considered this offseason. Davis’ five-year, $189.9 million contract runs through the 2024-25 season when the star will make $43.2 million, per Spotrac.
LeBron & Kyrie Have Had a Volatile Relationship
Like James, Irving is slated to be a free agent in 2023 unless he signs an extension this offseason. Irving has a $36.5 million salary for the 2022-23 season. There would need to be some smoothing over between James and Irving. The Lakers star took exception to Irving’s comments in 2020 noting that Kevin Durant was the first teammate he could trust in clutch situations.
“So, when I heard the comment that Kyrie made, I wanted to one, not only find the whole transcript but also call my people, ‘Send me the whole transcript,'” James noted during a December 8, 2020 interview on the Road Trippin’ podcast. “And I heard that he had did it on K.D.’s podcast. I was a little like, damn. Once I got the whole transcript, I was like damn. I wasn’t like, ‘Ah, you tripping, I’m hitting winning shots my whole life.’ I was not like that. I was like, damn, because you [Richard Jefferson] were there for a couple seasons. I mean, I played with Kyrie for three seasons.
“The whole time while I was there, I only wanted to see him be a MVP of our league. I only cared about his success, and it just didn’t align. It just didn’t align, and we was able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing, we were still able to win a championship, and we could never align. But I only cared about his well-being both on and off the floor, and it kind of like, it kind of hurt me a little bit.”