Superstar options the Lakers could eventually replace LeBron James with

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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james harden trade
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF) /

LeBron James replacements the Lakers could sign in free agency:

DeMar DeRozan

If fans are hoping for someone who can truly replicate what LeBron brings to the table, DeMar DeRozan is among the closest in resemblance. He is a notch below LBJ in terms of tier, but he can do a lot of the same things that James can. He has more than proven his ability to not only create for himself and his teammates but also to flat-out orchestrate an offense (averaged a career-high 6.9 assists per game as the quarterback of the Spurs offense in 2020-2021).

You can count on him perennially providing at least 20-5-5, and despite never fully developing into a 3-point shooter (career 1.5 attempts per game), he has always boasted high effective field goal percentages and knocked down his freebies at a high percentage.

The LA native has long been linked to the Lakers, and a deal to bring him home was reportedly on the 1-yard-line prior to the botched Russell Westbrook trade in 2021. His interest in returning to his roots is more than likely still alive, and he is probably the most realistic player on this list not named Rui Hachimura to don the purple and gold next season.

James Harden

James Harden is a future NBA Hall of Famer. But even with the massive numbers that he has put up throughout his career on the hardwood, it has been the nonstop nonsense tied to his name off the court that has engulfed his entire reputation. On the court, he is that dude. Off the court, he is a diva. That is not a great combination of hats for a professional basketball player to wear when seeking big money.

There is almost no way that he winds up anywhere outside of Los Angeles this season as a member of the Clippers. If Daryl Morey does not grant his wish and sends him elsewhere, Harden will more than likely seek yet another change of scenery next offseason.

If that is the case, the Lakers should cautiously monitor his performance throughout the 2023-2024 campaign to determine what he is worth. He is arguably the top free agent in a 2024 class that is short on stars. That should drive up his asking price, but suitors should ensure they do their diligence on him before signing him and the inevitable circus that seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

Pascal Siakam

Depending on your stance on Harden, Pascal Siakam could very well sit atop the free agent power rankings for next season. While he could certainly return to the Raptors, all signs seem to point in the direction of his ensuing departure.

And with Toronto’s continued mediocrity in recent years combined with his name constantly being thrown around in trade talks, a fresh start seems like the right route for Siakam at this point in his career.

Similar to fellow Raptor legend DeRozan, Siakam offers a lot of the same characteristics on the court that James does. He has evolved from a secondary support piece to an immensely versatile point-forward with the ability to effectively guard 1-5. His jump shot has not evolved in the same way that the rest of his game has, but LeBron has never been renowned for his jump shot.

Siakam has not been tied to the Lakers to this point, but they could be an under-the-radar landing spot for him if (when) the Raptors decide it is time to move on.

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