In a December 30 CBS Sports story, Sam Quinn listed how each of the 29 NBA teams in the league fare as possible trade partners for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. Coming in at no. 1 was James’ old team, the Miami Heat. While ironing out what a potential deal could look like, Quinn said that Tyler Herro’s inclusion would be
“Miami could offer three first-round picks along with Lowry as the primary matching salary. The Lakers would probably ask for Tyler Herro. That would be the sticking point in negotiations,” Quinn said.
Quinn then referenced when the Heat acquired Shaquille O’Neal back in 2004 as a reference for how trade negotiations could do gown between the Lakers and the Heat.
“The last time the Lakers and Heat made a trade of this magnitude, the Lakers tried a similar staredown involving Dwyane Wade and blinked,” Quinn said. “They ultimately sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant. It’s hard not to draw parallels to that trade when speculating about this one. Both deals began with an aging legend growing frustrated as the Lakers prioritized the future over the present.”
Trading for O’Neal played a role in how the Heat managed to win their first championship over the Dallas Mavericks in 2006. At 38 years old, James is not the player he was when he played for the Heat from 2010 to 2014, but he’s still among the best players in the league.
Why Miami Would Want James Back
Quinn explained that the Heat would want James because things have gone quite as well as they would have liked due to a myriad of factors, and yet their aim is still to win now, not later.
“At 18-17, they aren’t even in the top six in the Eastern Conference a year after earning the No. 1 seed. They never adequately replaced Tucker at power forward. Jimmy Butler remains a major injury risk, and Kyle Lowry just isn’t the player he used to be anymore. This current group has probably missed its window to win a championship. The Heat don’t rebuild. They reload.”
The Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets, 124-119, after Quinn’s article was published, making them 18-18, which ties them with the New York Knicks for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.
James’ Fit With Miami
Quinn also explained how Miami’s players, like Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro – should he not be included – fit next to James.
“Bam Adebayo is as close to peak Anthony Davis as exists in the current NBA. He’s not quite the scorer Davis is, but he’s nearly as good defensively and is a far craftier passer. Butler’s postseason resume speaks for itself. Herro would be an ideal spacer and secondary ball-handler next to James. If he’s in the deal, LeBron could probably revive Duncan Robinson,” Quinn said.
Quinn then explained why Miami is the best choice for James should he want out of Los Angeles, much like it was when he originally deserted the Cleveland Cavaliers for them in 2010.
“LeBron had the best years of his career in Miami. When he needed to escape Cleveland, the Heat gave him a path to championships. If he decides to escape Los Angeles, Miami’s roster, coaching staff, front office, and market make it the best overall destination for the remainder of his prime.”
James has never been traded once in his career, and he’s never made a trade demand. The Lakers are 15-21 and haven’t had Anthony Davis for the last two weeks. If they decide to cut their losses and start over, a LeBron James reunion in South Beach could very well be on the horizon.