Trading LeBron could help fix broken Lakers, Van Gundy says

LeBron James is in grave danger of missing the playoffs in his first season with the Lakers.

If the Los Angeles Lakers want to right their sinking ship they should consider all possibilities — including a trade of LeBron James, according to Jeff Van Gundy.

The former coach and current ABC/ESPN analyst was speaking to a national audience during the Lakers’ loss (their fifth in a row) to the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

The exchange between Van Gundy and fellow analyst Mark Jackson went like this:

Van Gundy: I think in the offseason, they [Lakers] need to rebuild this roster, right? And to me, it could be a trade for an Anthony Davis, or I think they need to explore trading LeBron for getting as much as they can.

Jackson: What are you doing, seriously? No, seriously, what are you doing?

Van Gundy: You’ve got to get on the right timeline. I’m going to say, if I could trade him for the Clippers into cap space, which would give me a better chance to get Durant or Kawhi Leonard, would I not do that?

Jackson: OK, LeBron James is not getting traded. OK?

Van Gundy: You’ve got to put everything on the table.

Jackson: No, you can’t.

It should be noted that Jackson is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents James. Jackson also took to the airwaves to campaign for the New Orleans Pelicans to trade Anthony Davis, another Paul client, to the Lakers earlier this season.

But no matter how you spin it, things have not gone well for James and the Lakers. With a record of 30-36, they are 7 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, with just 16 games to go.

According to, the Lakers have the 11th-toughest remaining schedule in the league.

2 Comments on "Trading LeBron could help fix broken Lakers, Van Gundy says"

  1. With Van Gundy on this one. Would trade LeBron for sure.

  2. Lou Beeman | March 11, 2019 at 6:54 pm |

    Trading LeBron would take some guts, but would be the smart move if they can get a haul of proven and young talent for him. Use his leverage tactics against him for once. (What kind of retribution might Klutch exact in terms of player relations though?) You could expect a real rebound effect from a lot of Lakers if LeBron left — Ingram, Kuzma and the others involved in poisonous mid-season trade talks would all probably perform better in his wake. Kuzma and Ingram are good, but should probably go. Keep Lonzo, a potential long-term defensive and offensive facilitating anchor, and a PERFECT match for a “A”-list running mate. Keep Walton, too, and show what that famed Laker loyalty is about (the mightily young Lakers were playing top-five defense early in the season!). More players will want to come play in L.A., and for “player’s coach” Walton, if LeBron is somewhere else. “The media” is just narrative, not TRUTH, but there’s a LOT of talk about how many top tier players simply do not want to play with LeBron. He definitely SEEMS like a negative recruiting asset at this point. Young talent will whither with him. Top talent will chafe. On the court, ball don’t lie, but all the OTHER stuff? — the diagetic media game? A lot of players’ dislike of LeBron has to do with that realm more than what might be called natural resentment of the top player in the league. Kyrie’s obnoxious comments several months ago, where he more or less dissed everyone else on the team while placing himself in his own tier, at the top, was textbook Bron-speak! And it went over like a lead balloon. For good reason.

    It’s lonely at the top! But LeBron could have done *way* more to support Kevin Love in Cleveland and helped with a lot of this narrative, instead of doing things like playing subtweet assclown shade games about “fitting out/in”. Ditto for the situation with Kyrie, who, in my opinion, did more in one week to tarnish LBJ’s legacy than any other opponent! And for relatable, good reasons! I think LeBron also used up a lot of goodwill in people — similar to his “Decision,
    and “Six Rings” crap — with his tone-deaf egocentric “My comeback against the Warriors made me the greatest of all-time” comment. It was just gross, and lacked class. It was… sad. The tragedy is that many of these things seem *very* obvious, but they’re probably NOT when you live in a bubble the way a mega-celebrity multimillionaire does.

    I admit, I’ve never liked LeBron. His anointed status, the glib media game, facile non-speak, pass-agg social media histrionics, and the… perhaps justified low level of intelligence he continually shows he believes the media and general public to have? At the same time, I marvel at how well he’s handled it all… it’s literally impossible for me to imagine.

    But I know why a lot of players don’t like LeBron or playing with him, and why he’s never been as beloved as one might think a player of his athletic prowess and stature should be. It’s not about his athleticism. It’s about his emotional intelligence and ability to be “authentic,” which, admittedly, would be a really hard thing for someone of his almost unmatched abilities and early celebrity.

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