To say LeBron James’ first season in LA hasn’t gone as expected would be an understatement. The Lakers are 31-36 and James is set to miss the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.
As it stands, the Lakers will try to retool the roster around James this offseason. They will likely be big players in free agency this summer.
But what would happen if LA went in the opposite direction? What would happen if they traded James?
Jeff Van Gundy brought up this hypothetical situation on a recent ESPN broadcast. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher wrote about it in a feature, asking NBA executives what they’d give up for James.
The answers might not be what you think:
“Hmmm,” pondered one Eastern Conference owner when asked if his team would trade for James if given the chance. “At this point, probably not, given where we are. I wouldn’t want to gut the team for a player that isn’t committed and is toward the end of his career.”
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].”
“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 34, and while still the best player in the world, has shown signs of aging this year. It wouldn’t make sense to trade for him unless you were looking to win a title ASAP.
Of course, a trade of James isn’t going to happen in the first place though.