This season has not gone the way that the Los Angeles Lakers hoped it would after signing LeBron James last summer. Instead of ending their playoff drought, the Lakers find themselves on the outside looking in once again, with a ton of drama to boot.
James’ agent Rich Paul was heavily involved in the Anthony Davis saga, and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reportedly was so angry at him that she considered trading LeBron. Things were reportedly smoothed out between the sides, but the with the Lakers on the same pace as they were last season without James, some have wondered if they would be better off trading him.
If that were to happen, the return on such a deal may not be quite as expected. According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, one owner would deal for James, but wouldn’t empty out his team’s assets:
A Western Conference owner said he would consider dealing for James but with conditions. “Depends on what I’d have to give up,” he said. “I wouldn’t roll up the truck and give more than one protected first[-round pick].”
Another executive also noted a decrease in what James could net a team in a trade:
“I still think you could get a decent package for him from a bad team,” one Western Conference assistant GM says. “A first-round pick and a good young player. But it would’ve been a lot more a year ago, for sure.”<
James is undoubtedly still one of the best players in the league so gathering that type of package would seem like a very small return. Considering what was asked of the Lakers to acquire Davis, one would think James would require the same type of deal.
Of course regardless of James’ performance, he is still in the latter stages of his career. The Lakers dealing James this summer is a long shot at best, but it is still interesting to think about what L.A. could get back if they wanted to go down that road.