The Los Angeles Lakers have entered an offseason where they'll have to answer many questions regarding their future. After the terrible Russell Westbrook trade this season, the Purple and Gold are looking to solve this problem and return to being a competitive team again.
Besides Westbrook, many people have wondered what will happen with the rest of the players on the roster, including LeBron James and Anthony Davis. AD has also been linked with a move away if they decide to keep Westbrook, but Bron's name has also been mentioned in potential trades.
A lot has been said about it, with some reports even claiming that Phil Jackson would favor a LeBron trade while keeping Westbrook on the Lakers. Well, another report suggests that even if LeBron doesn't sign an extension with the Lakers this offseason, he will play the rest of his current deal at Crypto.com Arena.
Luckily for all of us, common sense prevailed soon afterward when The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that even if James does not sign an extension with the Lakers this offseason, the purple-and-gold franchise wouldn’t trade him:
If LeBron James ultimately decides against signing an extension with the Lakers in August, sources say Buss wouldn’t see his desire to play out the final season of his contract as a reason to consider trading him. Without an extension, James’ current deal will expire after next season (in which he’s owed $47.1 million). It’s a natural question to ask in these sorts of situations, as the notion of James leaving the Lakers empty-handed by signing elsewhere in the summer of 2023 would be less than ideal. Still, all signs point to the year-by-year approach being considered acceptable by the Lakers—so long as the relationship with James is still in a good place.
That was followed up by team legend Magic Johnson telling TMZ that he wants James to remain a Laker “for a long time.”
So even despite what Stephen A. Smith or even Phil Jackson (reportedly) wants, it doesn’t look like James will be getting traded this offseason.
And why would he?
Even a franchise as proud as the Lakers only rarely has a generational talent like James on its roster, so why trade him when he’s still producing at the level he’s at?
Despite the struggles in the past two seasons, nothing suggests that LeBron or the Lakers want to end their relationship. The King is pretty comfortable in Los Angeles, his kids and wife too, so there is no reason to change that, especially when he's keen to bring another championship to the franchise. Jeanie Buss and LeBron have a close relationship and they are working to reach the same goal, so breaking up this partnership doesn't sound like a smart decision for the Lakers.