LeBron James seemingly is the only Los Angeles Lakers player who hasn’t been mentioned in trade speculation leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
NBA insider Peter Vecsey wrote a column Wednesday on Patreon in which he detailed the drama surrounding the Lakers, who have been unsuccessful in their effort to acquire New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis despite offering almost everyone on their roster and draft picks.
Vecsey pointed to James as part of Los Angeles’ problem, in large because of a power struggle that seems to now exist, and went so far as to say Wednesday night on “WEEI Late Night” that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers turn around and trade the 15-time All-Star.
“He might’ve taken on the wrong person this time in trying to subvert what (Lakers president of basketball operations) Magic (Johnson) was doing and trying to run the franchise himself, he and his agent (Rich Paul),” Vecsey said, per WEEI.com. “So that was the column today, about Magic Johnson and (owner) Jeanie Buss saying, ‘What the hell is going on here, man? We can’t let this guy’ … I suggested that the Lakers should try to trade LeBron. I would not be shocked if it happened.”
It’s fairly obvious things aren’t going well in Los Angeles right now, especially with New Orleans all but refusing to engage in trade talks regarding Davis. But trading James seems very, very, very unlikely, even if the Lakers’ front office and ownership aren’t thrilled with his first season in the organization.
The most likely outcome, if the Lakers don’t land Davis before Thursday’s deadline, is Los Angeles will try again to swing a deal with New Orleans this offseason. The Lakers also can turn to free agency in their attempt to build a legitimate title contender around James.
Vecsey is skeptical, though. And he believes the Lakers might be better off in the long run if they swallow their pride and move on from James, although it’d obviously be difficult given how frequently Los Angeles’ young players have been mentioned in trade rumors in recent weeks.
“He’s doing everything wrong,” Vecsey said of James during Wednesday night’s radio interview, per WEEI.com. “He was supposed to take these guys under his wing; instead he threw them under buses, planes and trains. Clear the roster. He’s got no respect for anybody.
“Davis is a good player. There’s no question he’s an All-Star, but what has he done? He hasn’t been good enough to take anybody anywhere worthwhile. He’s only gotten them to the second round once and the playoffs twice.”
So, what’s the new master plan?
“If I’m the Lakers, I try to trade LeBron for a couple of key pieces, keep all those young guys, and move forward,” Vecsey said.
Well, that sure would be the boldest move the Lakers could make.
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