4 teams that could realistically land Lakers' LeBron James this summer

Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers
Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages
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2. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City are an interesting team to consider in the James sweepstakes. For starters, they’ve been stockpiling draft picks and could draft Bronny James, which seems to factor heavily into the equation.

Thunder GM Sam Presti has been hoarding draft capital, in hopes of making a deal for a superstar. All told, the Thunder have 37 draft picks in the next seven years, 15 of which are first-rounders.

It’s already worked for him, as it helped him land Paul George. When George was ready to leave, Presti reeled in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is one of only seven players to average at least 28 points in each of the last two seasons.

James shouted out Presti for the job he’s done in Oklahoma City.

"The MVP over there is Sam Presti. He's the MVP. I mean, Josh Giddey is great. But Sam Presti, I don't understand this guy's eye for talent. He drafted KD, Russ, Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Josh Giddey and the list goes on and on and on. This guy is pretty damn good."

The Thunder could technically made a trade for James this summer, if he’d opt into the final year on his deal. They’d have to part with Josh Giddey, Davis Bertans, Lu Dort and Aleksej Pokusevski for salary purposes, and deal their 2024 first-round pick (via Houston) and 2025 first-round pick, to sweeten the pot for the Lakers.

They could throw in more draft capital, depending on how desperate they are and how much Pelinka and the Lakers demand. It’s not quite James’ track record of going to small market teams, but the Thunder would be a fun team in OKC.