ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy caused quite a stir earlier this month when he said the Los Angeles Lakers need to consider trading LeBron James this offseason.
Van Gundy was criticized pretty heavily for suggesting the bold move, with his fellow analyst, Mark Jackson, pushing back hard live on the air.
It turns out that the idea of trading LeBron isn’t that crazy…
NBA insider Ric Bucher reports that the Lakers actually “contemplated” trading LeBron at one point during this season.
The subject of moving James, however, was contemplated by the Lakers, a team source said, weeks before Van Gundy aired it. When rumors engulfed the team at the February trade deadline that it was willing to trade anyone other than James to acquire All-Star forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, James’ agent, Rich Paul, was widely accused of spreading those rumors because Davis is also one of his clients. Paul denied to B/R that he leaked the Lakers’ interest in Davis, but Buss suspected otherwise and was furious. The idea of terminating the franchise’s relationship with Paul by moving James at least crossed Buss’ mind, the team source said, and Paul was made aware of that. That prompted Paul to reach out to Buss to clear the air, and whatever ill will existed supposedly dissipated. At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference a few weeks later, Buss blamed the media for making the rumors public.
A LeBron trade isn’t happening, but the fact that the Lakers reportedly “contemplated” the move shows just how insane this season has been for the Los Angeles franchise.
The Lakers are now 31-36 on the season, seven games out of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles is set to face the Raptors in Toronto tonight.