The silence from the Los Angeles Lakers — even after reportedly hiring their next head coach— is deafening, and the space where their own message could be relayed is instead being filled with the innumerable versions of the story outside sources are sharing. One such thing that has been the source of innumerable speculation is the relationship between those atop the organization and LeBron James.
There is no reason to believe this will happen yet, but James could theoretically be shipped anywhere, and according to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports, at least one NBA executive could see it happening, and even mentioned a specific destination:
It’s early in that process. Leonard’s shot just fell through the net. But one Western Conference executive brought up a name that could be a Simmons trade target: LeBron James.
“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?
Before we go any further down this rabbit hole, there are a few things we have to point out. First and foremost, this is a rival executive speculating about what another team could do. This isn’t that executive relaying stuff that he’s heard. This is a third party wondering aloud what might potentially happen.
Such an executive has incentive to throw this out there, too, by the way. As soon as the words “LeBron James” and “trade” are mentioned in the same sentence in an article by a reputable reporter, a million other articles will be launched for circulation purposes. Executives know this, and thus will sometimes try to use it to their advantage. In this case, it’s a rival of the Sixers, and what better to stir up a little chaos than speculating on the record (even anonymously) about Philly trading away one of its franchise players?
Haberstroh, to his credit, points out in the article that “there has been no indication” that Philadelphia is considering any such trade of Simmons, and by extension, the Lakers seem far enough removed from this that it would be hard to assume they’ve even discussed this, either.