Lakers Trading LeBron James for Young Phenom Can’t Be Ruled out, per Exec

lebron james

Getty Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

LeBron James has likely tied himself to the Los Angeles Lakers for the rest of his years as a top player in the NBA after signing an extension with the team this offseason. It was a surprise move considering the Lakers missed the playoffs last year and didn’t have a great offseason. Regardless, he’s committed to the team going forward.

However, how committed are the Lakers to him? The team obviously wants LeBron on the team and likely would never trade him. That could change if the team has another bad season and an opportunity is presented to them. French big man Victor Wembanyama is widely considered one of the best draft prospects to ever enter the NBA. The 7-foot-4 18-year-old has been gaining a lot of hype in recent months and there will be a lot of teams desperate to get him.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, they won’t have a real chance at drafting him even if they are the worst team in the NBA as the New Orleans Pelicans have the right to swap first-round picks with Los Angeles this year thanks to the Anthony Davis trade. That means the only way the Lakers could possibly land the phenom is to try and convince whoever ends up with the No. 1 pick to make a trade. David Aldridge of The Athletic spoke to a Western Conference executive who suggested that almost any player in the NBA, including LeBron, would be worth reading to land Wembanyama.

“Who wouldn’t I trade?” the executive told Aldridge. “You have Durant. You have Giannis. I can’t put [LeBron James] in that conversation, just because of his age. Curry. Jokić. And Embiid. I would say organizationally, you have to have that conversation. I’m not saying I would do it. But I think those five push that question.”

No Team Is Trading Wembanyama Rights for LeBron

There is an argument that LeBron is the greatest basketball player ever. There is also an argument that he is still a top-five player in the NBA. However, he’ll be 38 in December. He’s defied Father Time thus far but he can’t do it forever.

If a team lands the No. 1 overall pick after the season, it likely means that they are a bad team. Why would a bad team give up a potential franchise-changing prospect just to get a couple of good years from LeBron? It would never happen. Wembanyama in a Lakers uniform is a fun idea but it likely won’t be possible unless he hits free agency several years from now.

What About Anthony Davis?

Now, if the Lakers are hellbent on figuring out any way to get Wembanyama, they could consider dealing Anthony Davis. The eight-time All-Star is coming off a couple of down seasons but is still one of the best players in the world when healthy. If he puts together a big season and stays healthy this year, he’ll be a valuable piece again.

If a good team somehow ends up with the No. 1 pick due to injuries or a trade, the Lakers could consider offering up Davis for essentially Wembanyama. It would still be a weird deal as Los Angeles should be trying to figure out how to win now but perhaps another bad season makes the front office want to rebuild around a player like Wembanyama.

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