Some of the greatest players in NBA history have been traded in their careers including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, James Harden, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. LeBron James, who will be 35-years-old at this time next year, is or already has entered the phase of his basketball career where teams would entertain trading him. And in February Lakers owner Jeanie Buss “contemplated trading LeBron,” according to Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher.
The Lakers are now without a head coach and a team president as Luke Walton and Magic Johnson are both out. If the Lakers go a few more weeks without a hire to the head coach spot, expect a new round of LeBron trade rumors to heat up.
The conventional wisdom is that Buss is going to hire a pro-LeBron coach and executive but Buss could opt to play a wait-and-see game. What this will come down to is how much power Buss wants to cede to LeBron.
If she is not willing to bring in a Ty Lue or Monty Williams, then there will be even further trouble at Staples Center. LeBron could actually wind up asking to get out of LA.
In terms of teams that would be interested in trading for LeBron (maybe not as many as you would imagine for arguably the greatest player of all-time), here are a few.
Knicks: How would a Kevin Durant – LeBron – Zion Williamson trio sound in New York? If Kyrie Irving winds up going back to the Celtics, New York could at least ponder this option.
Bulls: LeBron is no dummy. He knows that Zion is “the next LeBron.” Why wouldn’t he want to jumpstart Zion’s NBA career if the Bulls get lucky in the lottery? Chicago is one of those legacy franchises in a big market that LeBron would be attracted to.
Clippers: The Clippers roster as currently constructed is perfect for LeBron. But it’s highly unlikely that Buss would ever trade someone like LeBron to the Clips. That would be the gamble of three lifetimes.
Nets: LeBron gets his big market and his own team. D’Angelo Russell would be a nice Kyrie Irving-like running-mate for LeBron.
Sixers: Had LeBron decided to take his talents to Philly last summer, the Sixers would be clear-cut favorites to win the Eastern Conference right now. It remains a great fit.
Pelicans: David Griffin is now in New Orleans and LeBron has a phenomenal relationship with him. Maybe the move for Anthony Davis is to try and get LeBron to New Orleans and not the other way around.
Warriors: If Durant leaves, LeBron wouldn’t be the worst replacement.
Mavericks: Mark Cuban has always been a go-big or go-home owner. A Luka Doncic – Kristaps Porzingis – LeBron trio would do serious business in the West.
Chances LeBron ultimately gets traded this summer: Slim to none, and slim just got hit by a dump truck.
Buss would be seen as entirely incompetent if she traded LeBron. When the Lakers signed up for the LeBron experience last summer they had to have known that part of the deal is giving up a boatload of power to LeBron’s team. They’ll give it at least one more go.
Of course, if the Lakers have a relative whiff again in free agency this summer and they got off to a rocky start next season – then this stuff will get all-too-real.