Grade the trade: Lakers send LeBron home with Bronny after falling short in wild pitch

Paul Pierce suggests LeBron James force a trade to Cavaliers to play with Bronny if Lakers lose play-in
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Would the Lakers actually make this trade?

The Los Angeles Lakers are not going to trade LeBron James of their own accord. Their self-declared history of taking care of stars, the value he has to the franchise on-and-off the court and his stature in the league all contribute to the Lakers holding onto him as long as he will have them.

If LeBron comes to the team and says he wants to leave, however, that same commitment to being the franchise that accommodates star players will make them that much more likely to acquiesce to his request. Add in that LeBron has a player option for next season so he can decline it and walk in free agency, the Lakers will almost certainly look to get back value in a deal rather than try to strongarm LeBron.

In terms of what the value should be for LeBron James, probably the greatest player in the history of the league, the game's biggest star and someone still playing at an All-NBA level, the answer is likely a well-intentioned shrug. LeBron's value is impossible to quantify.

With that being said, an All-NBA player in his prime who pairs excellently with Anthony Davis is an excellent place to start. Donovan Mitchell is an ideal star for Los Angeles and has the high-octane potential to dominate on the Lakers. Caris LeVert is likewise a solid two-way player who could continue to play as a Sixth Man for the Lakers.

There are plenty of complicating factors. Donovan Mitchell could opt out of his contract in the summer of 2025. LeBron would be hard-pressed to simply leave in free agency given the high contract expectations that he has. Trading LeBron James for anything will seem like the Lakers lost the trade.

Yet if LeBron James demands a trade, and even one to a specific team, the Lakers will likely work with him to ensure a peaceful transition. The question that should be asked instead is whether there is any possibility that this will actually happen. Given LeBron's connections to the area, the lucrative contract that he can sign this summer and the difficulty of joining a new team, the odds seem incredibly low. Is it impossible? No, especially not when LeBron is involved, but Paul Pierce's advice seems like it will disappear into the wind.

Grading this trade on its chances of happening? Incredibly low. If LeBron makes the request, however, and truly does want to be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers to team up with Bronny for his hometown team, this is a strong return given all of the circumstances involved.

Grade: B+

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