The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are both officially out of the 2022 NBA playoffs after the latter lost to the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament Friday night.
They blew a big advantage after coming back from a previous one, only to lose the match 105-101 at home, missing the postseason after a very solid season. These two teams are expected to have entertaining offseasons, especially the Lakers.
The Purple and Gold have some serious questions to answer, especially regarding their roster. Russell Westbrook failed to make an impact on the team this season, and not many people think he'll start next season as part of the team. As things stand right now, it seems like nobody on the Lakers has their spot secured, not even their Big 3.
LeBron James has been mentioned in some trade rumors recently, with some people placing him outside of the 17-time NBA champions. Bill Simmons of The Ringer recently dropped an interesting idea for the Lakers and Clippers to complete a blockbuster trade involving their best players.
Talking with Fox Sports’ Kevin Wildes, Simmons proposed a trade that could work for both Lakers and Clippers. He suggested that the Clippers send Kawhi Leonard to the Lakers and get LeBron James in return.
“I think it’s interesting you thought it would be a Paul George trade, because I think you could talk me into like either guy [Leonard or George],” Simmons said during an episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast.” “…If I’m the Clippers, I wouldn’t trade Paul George for LeBron, as crazy as that sounds. LeBron’s going to be in his 20th year next year. He’s on the last year of his deal. I have no idea if he’s going to stay. Versus Paul George I have under contract, and he’s really good. And then you have Kawhi, who has just missed a ton of games. I think if you’re them, maybe that’s a chance to reduce the risk of the Kawhi contract and roll the dice with LeBron.”
This is an interesting idea from Simmons, and seeing the current state of the Lakers, it doesn't sound crazy or unlikely. LeBron James is reportedly unwilling to sign a contract extension with the Lakers this offseason and could take a different approach to his stay with the team, but this could open the door for the team to look for alternatives for the player.
Still, it seems like their main goal right now is moving Russell Westbrook and some candidates have shown up for the former NBA MVP. The Lakers are a mess right now, and not everybody is safe from getting moved. LeBron has done a good job in L.A., taking the team to win the championship two years ago, but the situation is different now.
As for the Clippers, they still have a good group of players and many believe they will make some noise next season with Kawhi and Paul George back. However, if they can get LeBron, maybe things will look better, but that's pure speculation.