The Los Angeles Lakers are currently embroiled in multiple trade rumors around Russell Westbrook. The best version of the Lakers is without Westbrook and it is imperative that the front office puts together a team that can contend for the championship next season.
Not just for the sake of the fans, but to make LeBron James happy as well. While LeBron’s days in the league are numbered, the last thing the Lakers want to do is disappoint LeBron and cause him to leave once his contract expires next summer.
If LeBron leaves there will be a ripple effect. Suddenly, fellow Klutch Sports client Anthony Davis will be out the door as well. That is why it is imperative for the Lakers to make a trade for someone like Kyrie Irving.
Finding a potential new home for LeBron if he does leave the Lakers is an interesting thought experiment. LeBron (and his family) seem to love their lives in LA, both for personal and professional reasons.
That being said, there is one place that always will have a special place in LeBron’s heart… Cleveland. NBA insider Brian Windhorst, who has followed LeBron closely for his entire career, thinks that a second homecoming could potentially happen for LeBron.
Cleveland is freeing up Kevin Love and Caris LeVert’s contracts, which are worth a combined $47.7 million. The team is going to need to pay Darius Garland an extension but the Cavs have Bird Rights on him, so they could take in a max contract like LeBron and utilize those Bird Rights to retain Garland.
Why LeBron James would spurn the Lakers for the Cavaliers:
If the Lakers’ front office does not show a commitment to winning this season then LeBron, knowing his days are numbered in the league, is going to want to go to another team that has a chance of contending. Granted, LA will have cap space and still has AD, but LeBron may not trust the front office to piece it together.
A year from now the Cavaliers might look like a much better place to win the title. If Garland continues to blossom and Evan Mobley continues his progression then the team will have two legitimate all-star players. Add LeBron to that mix and suddenly it is a championship team.
Bronny James will be in the 2024 draft class and this would give LeBron a one-year stopgap to wait until his son is in the league. LeBron would theoretically play the 2022-23 season in LA, the 2023-24 season in Cleveland and then his final year in 2024-25 wherever Bronny ends up.
Heck, that could even be the Cavaliers. The Cavs could promise to bring Bronny in to let LeBron play with his son for his hometown team to end his career. It would hurt the Lakers but it would be very poetic for one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
It might not be the likeliest scenario for LeBron but the Cavs are definitely a potential threat for LA to monitor.