I Los Angeles Lakers are given as one of the most active franchises in the NBA market.
A lot of people are expecting an operation by the yellowviola to strengthen the team before the trade deadline. The goal is to pull off a deal that will help in the sprint for the Playoffs and then give them a chance to compete in the post-season. The reality, however, is that the more time passes, the less the Lakers seem to be able to (re)become a contender, regardless of what happens in the market. LeBron James, on the other hand, wants to attempt one last assault on the title before retirement, and that is why rumors are beginning to swirl about his departure from Los Angeles.
Philadelphia in the summer
LBJ’s demands are clear: at least one more superstar alongside him, a level supporting cast, and maximum salary. Welcome bonus: a chance to play with his son Bronny, who is poised to be selected in the next draft. He will be a free agent at the end of the year, has a player option in his pocket but he might decide not to exercise it and make a change of scenery when faced with the real possibility of competing for a title with another franchise. Who could accommodate him? CBS is talking about big maneuvers going on at Philadelphia under the direction of Daryl Morey. Indeed, the Sixers’ moves in recent months suggest preparation for this assault on LeBron. The abandonment of the Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby run and the insistence on holding on to PJ Tucker’s hefty contract (25 million through 2025) even in the trade that led to James Harden’s farewell: moves dictated by a willingness to go after the big target LeBron James? Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey are two stars who could be ideal backs for the ring assault. What about Bronny? At the moment Philadelphia does not seem to have the right choices to select him but with Morey at the helm the paths to get there are all sorts of different. And then LeBron might choose to “sacrifice” his son on the altar of a fifth ring.
The immediate departure
Other speculations are then circulating, for the moment quite far-fetched, of an immediate farewell for King James. Potential (and quite imaginative) trades would see him in New York, Miami, and Philadelphia itself. The Knicks, for example, could trade for Julius Randle, Evan Fournier and two first-round picks in the upcoming drafts currently in their possession. Philadelphia would put Tobias Harris, Furkan Korkmaz and the first (unprotected) pick from 2028 on the table. Miami would even give Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro. All three of these franchises at the moment seem to have a better shot at the Lakers but the yellowviola currently do not seem intent on starting that rebuilding that would be triggered by the choice to trade LeBron.
The chances of James moving out this season are almost nil, but already the fact that there is talk of it indicates that the chances of seeing him away from Los Angeles in the coming months are not so remote.