What would the trade look like?
Bill Simmons brought on longtime NBA reporter Howard Beck in a recent podcast to discuss the state of the league and the Lakers. Beck covered the Lakers for most of the "Shaq and Kobe" era and knows the team well, so he was a logical choice. As the two broke down the current state of things, they strayed into surprising territory: would LeBron James want a trade, and where could he go?
The two assumed that LeBron would want to go to a contender, so the list of potential suitors was narrowed. As they walked through the options, Beck shared one outlandish idea: what if LeBron returned to his former team one last time, coming home to Cleveland?
His proposal would solve the Cavs' Donovan Mitchell problem, give LeBron a fresh start once again, and give the Lakers a player to pair around Anthony Davis. Here is the trade he proposed:
Let's discuss the Lakers' side of things first. Their chances of competing for a title go from negligible to nil if they move on from LeBron, but this is a trade that sets them up with a younger star for the years ahead. Few stars get to Los Angeles and don't want to stick around, and being the next great guard for the Lakers is a mantle waiting to be worn.
Mitchell and Davis would run a nasty pick-and-roll game, and Caris LeVert could either start alongside Mitchell in the backcourt or run the second unit with Austin Reaves starting. Moving off of a 39-year-old player for a 27-year-old All-NBA guard is a nice long-term play. Assuming LeBron is open to a trade, this is a deal the Lakers would be happy to make.
What about the Cavaliers? Do they make this deal?