Community Shootaround: Trading LeBron James

The most surprising part of tonight’s ABC prime time game between the Lakers and Celtics was a first quarter discussion among the announcing crew on whether L.A. should consider trading LeBron James after the season.

Jeff Van Gundy raised the topic, arguing that the Lakers should keep all their options open in an effort to improve the team. He conceded that trading James is unlikely and it would take a monumental offer for team president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka to even consider the idea. However, Van Gundy noted that the savings from unloading James’ contract could put L.A. in position to chase other free agents such as Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard.

Broadcast partner Mark Jackson quickly shot down the idea, pointing out that the Lakers’ reputation around the league would suffer if they traded the NBA’s highest-profile player a year after he agreed to sign with them.

Van Gundy found an ally on social media in ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who formerly served as assistant GM with the Nets. “Everything needs to be on the table for the Lakers this summer including no. 23,” Marks tweeted.

In the real world, the idea of trading LeBron without his consent is laughable. He and his representatives wield too much power and he sells too many tickets, jerseys and other merchandise for the Lakers to ever entertain the idea. But hypothetically, it could be in the best interest of the team.

Although he has continued to play at an All-Star level, LeBron’s first year in L.A. has been a disaster. He hasn’t been able to make a playoff team out of a collection of young talent and journeymen players on one-year contracts. Things might have gone differently if the Lakers hadn’t been overwhelmed by a string of injuries, but they always faced an uphill climb in a challenging Western Conference.

If LeBron couldn’t lift the Lakers into contention this year, will he ever be able to? He turns 35 in December and there’s no guarantee the team will be successful in its pursuit of Anthony Davis or hit the jackpot in free agency again. Reports have indicated that some elite free agents, most notably Durant and Leonard, may not be interested in teaming up with LeBron.

James is owed more than $117MM over the next three seasons, assuming he opts in to a $41MM salary in 2021/22. Trading him would open significant cap room and might make the Lakers more attractive to free agents who don’t want to play in LeBron’s shadow or deal with the drama that seems to surround him. Plenty of teams courted James last summer and likely would be willing to part with a nice collection of talent to make a deal happen.

We’re not saying it would ever take place, but we still want to get your opinion on the suggestion. Would the Lakers be smart to consider trading away LeBron this summer? Please leave your answers in the space below.

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53 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Trading LeBron James

  1. hiflew

    Of course they would be smart to consider it. Any team should always “consider” trading any player they have. I’m not saying they should ever accept an offer, but to outright dismiss even the notion of trading any player would be foolish. Even a superstar player. Franchises are likely going to be around longer than any player on the roster, so the long term health of the franchise should be placed above the feelings of any player.

    • jkoms57

      Lebron should ha e stayed 1 more year in clevand then join Zion in LA..

      He just came too soon. Now maybe trade him for Zion? Lol

  2. antsmith7

    LeBron is still really good but he’ll never be the same guy he once was. Better hope they get AD cause that’s the only chance they have at another star.

  3. Z-A

    My buddy has been saying trade LBJ for Jokic since he signed in LA lol and hes a die hard Lakers fan.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      Nuggets would not trade Jokic for anyone except maybe Giannis. I could see them parting with Millsap, Barton or Harris and MPJ for LeBron. Murray, LBJ and Jokic would be sick.

      • Z-A

        I told him to put the weed down. LBJ is too old to trade for any franchise centerpiece. Millsap’s getting cut in the offseason – frees up 30M. But LA is never trading this dude they’d look like even bigger clowns.

  4. LeBron can veto any trade. I wonder if he be open to being traded to high market team like the Knicks (I think that franchise shot themselves in foot though) Or back to Miami?
    It be fun to see him in Dallas?

    • Decius

      Allow me to speak for the Knicks fans: We don’t want him. Not interested. I would have to stop wearing my Knicks gear if we got him.

      • andremets

        Are you nuts? Lebron is still a beast. I’d take him in heart beat on the Knicks. He’s still way better than Anthony Davis who whose teams can’t even get into the playoffs.

  5. TJECK109

    LeBron would shoot down any trade, not because it may better the Lakers or even put him on a contender. He would shoot anything down because he wants nothing to affect his brand. He’s in LA. He’s not going to be seen as a Lakers bust.

    • whodatcoon

      It looks like he is going to be a Lakers bust regardless. I think you’re right though, he will want to stay. It would be best for James and the team if they found a mutually beneficial trade though.

  6. 2bbige

    How many times did the “anticipated” starting line up play together this year??? No way team could establish any continuity this year. The “ Trade Bron” talk is simply ridiculous.

  7. acarneglia

    Nobody ever said “hey let’s trade Michael Jordan, or hmm maybe we should trade Larry Bird”

    • Guest617

      sad theres no star player wanting to chase a ring with lebron in clev or los angelas

    • Z-A

      LBJ left Cleveland once, he opened the door to being a nomad. Jordan and Bird were the cities they played for. Jordan came out of retirement to play with some wiz kids for no reason.

  8. LBJ has a new show on TV (million dollar mile), the Wall, and Space Jam 2. He isn’t agreeing to go anywhere. LA was never a destination to win another title. Heck, he compares passing Jordan on the All-Time scoring list to his championships.

    He’ll play the next three seasons in LA, then likely sign another 1-2 year contract in La La Land before agreeing to a ceremonial contract to retire as a Cav. Won’t win another title, and likely won’t be a serious contender. Other high level NBA stars aren’t stupid m, they know, understand and appreciate where Bron is in his career. It’s why very few guys want to join him.

  9. goldenmisfit

    This is without question the most ludicrous discussion I have ever seen on this site. Also anyone who thinks no one would come and play with LeBron is absolutely foolish or just a flat out Laker hater

    • ChiSoxCity

      You’ve seen the way he treats his teammates and coaches everywhere he goes. If you were Durant, or Kawhi, would you want to play with (for) LeBron at this point?

  10. madmanTX

    Trade him. No, wait…don’t trade him. Tell the media you’re shopping him around for a low 2nd round pick and then call off the trade. Watch the hilarity that ensues.

  11. kenleyfornia2

    You have to honestly be on crack to think Lebron would accept a trade.

    • kenleyfornia2

      He hasn’t coached in 12 years and thinks he is a hot commodity. Dude wasnt going to be the coach anyways. And neither is Mark Jackson who is now in his 5th season away from coaching

  12. I believe he has an informal “no trade” agreement, and there’s no way he’s going to want to be traded after the past season.

  13. Connorsoxfan

    If he gets traded it’d only be to HOU or BOS. If he wanted to go anywhere else he could’ve signed there, but realistically neither of those teams could’ve made it happen and they are close enough to contention that he might make them the favorite over GSW because Boston is close if they can truly gel down the stretch.

    • By all appearances he decided he was going to the Lakers a long time ago, because it seems he wanted to pseudo-GM a team from scratch, not put a contending team over the top.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      Next season after the Lakers make some moves will be contenders. I could see them signing Boogie, who let’s be honest honest would play anywhere he gets a bag, and making a trade for either AD or Beal. Then they gotta sign some freaking shooters. Korver, Ellington, Seth Curry, Mike Scott and Dewayne Dedmon could be low cost options. They’ll have a new coach and hopefully they keep Lonzo. At 33% he’s been the best 3pt shooting youngster and also perimeter defender on the team this year. Next year no one will care they tanked to get a top 7 or 8 pick.

  14. Yep it is

    What “ Lakers “ reputation? Does he mean the non playoff threat Lakers of the last 6 years with a rudderless ownership group ran by “ Tragic”. Oh yes Marc what a “ reputation “they would lose. No wonder they ran you out of Golden State and then Went on to win 3 of 4.

  15. Lakers had a bad season due to injuries, but even if they didn’t had them, anyone who puts any blame in #TheKing, hasn’t really got any idea of basketball, you just have to watch his play, 27/9/8 per game, with 51% FG & 6 TD’s, really this are MVP numbers so he is not at fault for his teams demise. This year in my opinion only Giannis, AD, Harden, Embiid & KAT so far have been better than him & Jokic at his level, so a bust for the Lakers? Never!!! He actually has been way better than I thought he would be in his first year as a Laker, he has been excellent.

    • That’s kind of the thing. The Lakers need him to be more than almost as good as Giannis, AD, Harden, Embiid, and KAT.

  16. hill

    It’s a valid question.

    But LBJ isn’t their main problem.

    The Magic-Pelinka duo has been the weak link. They signed all the wrong players last July, threw away marginal assets for negative assets (bullock, Muscala) at the deadline and totally unequivocally botched the AD fantasy. Thus killing the locker room and selling your coach short.

    Is LBJ complicit? Of course.

    But stronger, more skilled and a savvier front office wouldn’t have let this season become a train wreck.

  17. shiz1156

    Aaaaaannnnnndddddd the Lake show suck for a very long time. 35 year old LeBum has handcuffed another franchise. Good work Magic! Love a Celtics fan!!!

    • kenleyfornia2

      How has he handcuffed them lol. They have no one signed long term but him and have plenty of room to add another star. Guess you are mad lebron has manhandled the Celtics multiple times in the playoffs in recent years including 2 ECF game 7s.

  18. You don’t trade the goat! The goat trades you :p

    They’ll get monobrow and easily be the second best next year keep calm..

    • hiflew

      Add the best player from the #12 team to the #10 team somehow = #2 team to you? I’m not saying AD wouldn’t improve the Lakers, but keep expectations realistic. Lots of people said they would be 2nd best when they signed LeBron too.

  19. jordanrulestheworld

    If a big free agent wants to stake a claim in their legacy I don’t see a better way than “saving” one of the most successful franchises and one of the best players to ever play. If you go in there and are the piece that lifts them up your legacy is cemented. For a guy like KD it could help turn around the narrative that he took the easiest road possible to win a few rings.

  20. Take note, people – LeBron doesn’t have a no trade clause. He can’t veto a trade.

    • But he’s also Le-f’n-Bron… they’re not going to trade him unless he starts screaming “trade me”

  21. triumph13

    Hot take by JVG. Lakers would never trade James this offseason… when is the last time a team has traded a max free agent signing only one year after they acquired him?
    That being said – since the comparison is always to Jordan, next season James will turn 35… the age Jordan turned when he won his last championship. How many years left does James still have as a top 5-10 player in the league?

    • whodatcoon

      Nobody knows, he could be great for a few more years or decline quickly. Jordan was still great when he joined the Wiz a few years later though, and Tim Duncan was still amazing at 37. James has taken great care of himself, but father time is undefeated.

      • triumph13

        Because they don’t rely on speed as much – I think greats like Duncan, Kareem, and even someone like Malone were able to stay at the top of their game longer than most.

        Whereas great players like Jordan, Erving, and more recently Kobe, Pierce etc took a large step back after turning 35. Can Lebron play second (or third) fiddle in LA? That may be his only option if he hopes to win a championship there.

  22. x%sure

    The announcers did not know either, if James has a NTC or even if they’re legal anymore. I had to chuckle at the drawn-out backnforth.

    It would be bad form to trade James after one year. Maybe next year. Maybe if Johnson/Pelinka is fired first and the new GM wants to deal him.

    It’s just silly to get all wound up about this year after 5 previous years with no success and prospects looking fine.

  23. Every team listens. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. You can tell their season is over. The stories already coming out.

  24. Npish89

    I think it would be the best thing for Lebron to get traded to a contender. An actual team, that has their roles set and he is the final piece of the puzzle.

    It would be very good for the league as well, since now small market teams like Portland, Utah, Sacramento, Milwaukee could realistically enter the bidding for his services.

    As for actually trading him, I doubt the lakers do it. They had a hard enough time getting one superstar. If you let him go, there is no guarantee you get another superstar.

    It would be easier to just get better role players. Maybe some people who can actually shoot the 3? Tougher coach like Thibs to shore up the defense wouldn’t hurt either. Still love rondo. Lengthy or mean defender someone like an Ariza, Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverly.

    Lakers can still win with Lebron in the future.

  25. david722

    As if the Laker’s reputation has not suffered significantly since Dr. Jerry passed. This organization is a reflection of the of siblings ability to run a franchise. They all deserve one another.

  26. D$!LLKU$H-og

    I could see him on the Clips. That way he can stay in LA but be on a contender. Looks like Clips going for Kawhi though and he don’t want to play with Bron cause he don’t wanna get outshined by GOAT James.

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