Trade LeBron James? No way, right? Well, it’s been done before and one NBA writer believes the Los Angeles Lakers would indeed opt to send James packing, should the opportunity and return become available. Some have reportedly urged Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to trade James.
In fact, Tom Haberstroh of NBC made a case for Los Angeles dealing James, whom they signed to a four-year free-agent contract last summer, in exchange for Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I think they very well might explore that,” said a rival executive of Philadelphia.
James doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but he shares the same Klutch Sports agent with Ben Simmons in Rich Paul. James has two seasons left on his deal before he can become a free agent. After a disastrous offseason in which their president of basketball operations abruptly resigned and they struck out on their top two head coaching targets in Monty Williams and Tyronn Lue, do the Los Angeles Lakers honestly believe they can put together a championship contender in the next two seasons?
If the answer is no, trading James has to be on the table. And if you’re going to do that, there’s a short list of players that would be worthy of being traded for the King. Simmons is certainly good enough to be on it.
As for the above-mentioned reference about James already being traded once, while he announced his choice to head to the Miami Heat with the infamous The Decision in the summer of 2010, the Cleveland Cavaliers — realizing James was headed to South Beach — agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Heat.
In that deal, the Cavaliers received a 2011 second-round draft pick (used to select Milan Macvan), a 2012 second-round draft selection (used to pick Jae Crowder), a 2013 first-round draft choice (used to take Nemanja Nedovic) and a 2016 first-round draft selection (used to pick Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot). Cleveland also received a trade exception from Miami and the right to swap 2012 first-round draft picks with the Heat, which the Cavaliers chose not to do.