LeBron James did not suit up on Thursday night against the Boston Celtics but it did not seem to matter. The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a shocking road win over the Celtics without either of the team's top two stars in what was an unusual moment of positivity this season.
Even though the Lakers pulled off a massive win over their biggest rival, the biggest story of the day was not the win. Instead, the emerging LeBron James trade rumors that surfaced became the most talked-about story as for the first time during his entire tenure in LA, a trade actually seemed like it was in the realm of possibility.
While the rumors spawned from a source who has been right several times about LeBron's future in the past, it does not appear that these particular trade rumors have any legs. It took less than 24 hours for Rich Paul of Klutch Sports to dispel the rumors as he definitively declared that a LeBron trade won't happen (via Brian Windhorst, ESPN).
""LeBron won't be traded, and we aren't asking to be." "
LeBron James trade rumors end before they even start
As accurate as the previous reports have been about LeBron James' future, Lakers fans can accept this as a definitive end to any trade rumors this season. The idea of trading LeBron was already far-fetched, and Paul going public and saying this is all fans need to hear.
Granted, there is a conversation to be had if this is the best course of action for the Lakers. If Los Angeles cannot improve the roster at the deadline, and the team knows LeBron might leave in the offseason anyway, then getting whatever assets the team can for him is a smart move.
But then again, LeBron is close with Anthony Davis, who is also represented by Paul. If the Lakers did pull the rug under LeBron and traded him to a team with a lot of draft picks, like the Oklahoma City Thunder, then it would be opening the door for Anthony Davis to demand out as well.
If the Lakers were ever going to entertain the idea of trading LeBron then they would have to accept the reality that it would force the team back into a rebuild where they don't have their own first-round pick in two of the next four years.
That is a dangerous proposition, especially for a prestigious organization like the Lakers. For that reason, trading LeBron was probably never actually in the cards regardless of as feasible it may have seemed.