Most of the Los Angeles Lakers offseason chatter has involved potential trades for Russell Westbrook. The team hasn’t been able to make a deal and it’s becoming increasingly likely that the former MVP will start the season on the team. If that happens, it’s hard to imagine LeBron James will commit to the team with a contract extension this offseason.
It’s possible there’s a scenario where the Lakers don’t have a path to move off Westbrook and are convinced LeBron will leave in free agency. That could lead them to explore possible trades. He’s 37 but still playing at an elite level. There could be any number of contending teams who are willing to give up a lot of assets to trade for him in an effort to win now.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer brought up an interesting proposal that sees the Golden State Warriors sending a haul to Los Angeles to land LeBron:
Imagine if Golden State flipped Klay Thompson, James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga, and future picks for LeBron, then elevated Jordan Poole and Moses Moody into Klay’s old role. They might win the next three championships. Would a collaboration between LeBron and Steph Curry plus Draymond Green end up representing one of the best teams in league history? This would be less an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” decision like it seemed to be for Durant and more of a partnership between two of the greatest living artists.
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Would Lakers Trade With Warriors?
This is actually a package that should be very interesting to the Lakers. Klay Thompson is an excellent fit with Anthony Davis and Westbrook. James Wiseman gives the team an exciting young center to pair with Davis while Jonathan Kuminga could be a very good wing. The Lakers would also get picks out of this deal. Not bad for only sending away a 37-year-old star coming off two injury-plagued seasons. This deal would be enough to get the Lakers to look past the fact that they would be sending LeBron to a rival.
Plus, Thompson is a Los Angeles native whose father played for the Lakers and is still involved with the team. Though he doesn’t want to leave the Warriors, it’d be a great story for him to come home. It’s hard to imagine Lakers fans would be too upset with this deal.
Lakers Still Have a Title Window
The only problem with O’Connor’s trade is that LeBron is still the best player involved. While a Lakers team led by Thompson and Davis can be very good, it’s still likely not good enough to win a title. With LeBron, Los Angeles still has a title window.
The preferable outcome of this offseason is still to get off Westbrook and possibly add Kyrie Irving. A trio of LeBron, Davis and Irving is much better than a trio of Thompson, Davis and Westbrook. The only reason the Lakers would need to consider trading the future Hall of Famer would be if they truly believe he’s leaving after the season. Landing Irving would almost guarantee the Lakers would be able to get LeBron to sign an extension.
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