LeBron James said this week that he will not waive his no trade clause if the Cavs wanted to ship him to any other NBA team, but what about the Lakers?
It seems like a foregone conclusion that LeBron is headed to LA anyway, so why wouldn’t Dan Gilbert poke around and see if he could get something (anything) in return for the greatest basketball player of this generation?
The Lakers would hold most of the leverage in this scenario as – mentioned above – LeBron is headed to LA regardless. It would behoove both the Lakers and the Cavs to expedite the process.
Gilbert seems closer to making a decision to blow this thing up now than to run it back for one year, as the situation in Cleveland has become toxic. The Cavs simply don’t have the flexibility to do much of anything right now unless they opt to trade one of – if not both – of their star players in LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
Of course, LeBron would not want to sit idle in LA for a year if the Lakers gave up one of their current big guns. Lonzo Ball is not going to be traded to the Cavs, nor is Brandon Ingram. LeBron isn’t going to do Gilbert any “solids” by "giving back" to the Cavs. That’s why the Lakers wouldn’t have to give up much of anything in a trade for LeBron – except matching salary. This could work:
F LeBron James ($33.2 million)
Luol Deng ($17.1 million)
Jordan Clarkson ($11.5 million)
The Cavs would get a good young player in Clarkson, which is better than nothing if LeBron walks out the door next summer. LeBron could ride with Brook Lopez, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Julius Randle, Ball and Ingram for a season, build a foundation, and then bring in the reinforcements next summer (Paul George, Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony).