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Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss contemplated trading star forward LeBron James ahead of the February deadline, according to veteran NBA insider Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report.
Per Bucher, Buss was upset with Rich Paul, the agent who represents James, for leaking information about the Lakers’ trade package in a proposed deal for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
As an aside, ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy suggested last week on the air the Lakers should consider trading James.
“The subject of moving James, however, was contemplated by the Lakers, a team source said, weeks before (Jeff) Van Gundy aired it,” Bucher reported. “When rumors engulfed the team at the February trade deadline that it was willing to trade anyone other than James to acquire All-Star forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, James’ agent, Rich Paul, was widely accused of spreading those rumors because Davis is also one of his clients.
“Paul denied to B/R that he leaked the Lakers’ interest in Davis, but Buss suspected otherwise and was furious. The idea of terminating the franchise’s relationship with Paul by moving James at least crossed Buss’ mind, the team source said, and Paul was made aware of that. That prompted Paul to reach out to Buss to clear the air, and whatever ill will existed supposedly dissipated.”
James, 34, is averaging 27,.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists. But the Lakers are in danger of missing the playoffs with a record of 31-36 entering Thursday’s game against the Toronto Raptors — their second of a five-game road trip.
Despite the addition of James, injuries and drama have resulted in a record that is just one win ahead of last year’s pace.
Both starting point guard Lonzo Ball (ankle) and swingman Brandon Ingram (shoulder) are out for the season.