For the first time in his career, LeBron James is seeing his name involved in trade rumors, as crazy as that sounds. A few days ago, ESPN's analyst Stephen A. Smith strongly suggested that Los Angeles Lakers should trade LeBron James to Miami Heat. When a transcendent star like James is on a roster, there is no way management wants to get rid of him. He is not only the greatest passer in the game and one of the most impactful superstars of all time, but he has shown he can make teammates around him better in almost every way. But considering the circumstances around the Los Angeles Lakers at this moment in time, it might be best for LeBron James’ career and also the Lakers if a blockbuster deal comes around the corner.
Obviously, the best possible landing spot for LeBron James has to be in Miami: the place where James won his first NBA championships and cemented his legacy in stone. The King owned South Beach for the 4 years he was there, capturing 2 titles in 4 Finals appearances and also capturing 2 Finals MVPs. Alongside co-stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James formed one of the greatest superteams of all time. If LeBron finds himself in a position to leave the bright lights and glamor of Los Angeles, why not go to his “second home” in South Beach?
As crazy as it might sound, there are 3 ways LeBron James can end up in Miami with the Heat and all of them involve blockbuster deals. That’s right, there could possibly be deals on the table that are good enough to pry LeBron James from the Lakers’ hands and give the Heat one of the greatest players of all time. Here are the 3 ways the Miami Heat can bring back their old superstar friend, LeBron James.
Trade Scenario No. 1
Trade Package: Jimmy Butler, Omer Yurtseven, Gabe Vincent, 2022 First Round Pick, 2023 First Round Pick For LeBron James
Jimmy Butler famously had an ugly bust-up with head coach Erik Spoelstra and veteran teammate Udonis Haslem. The All-Star swingman has developed one of the ugliest reputations in the league for being an abrasive character, but that was seemingly put to rest after he carried the Heat to the NBA Finals in 2020. But it happened again, and Butler made quite a scene by threatening to fight his head coach. Luckily for Butler and the Heat, that is water under the bridge as they look to capture their first title since 2013 this year. Butler is having a great year, averaging 21.4 PPG and 5.9 RPG during the regular season and 26.5 PPG during the playoffs.
But as great as Jimmy Butler is, there is no way he is untouchable. Especially when LeBron James is on the market. Butler is 5 years younger than James and is in his prime, but he is not the player James is, even at this stage. Butler cannot score like LeBron, nor pass or rebound like him. Quite frankly, very few players in the league can right now. For Miami to acquire one of the all-time greats, they need to give up their current franchise star.
Considering Butler’s abrasiveness and LeBron’s ability to carry teams, this is a deal Miami would entertain. Especially since it wouldn’t cost them other important players on the roster as they keep a title-contending squad. Omer Yurtseven and Gabe Vincent are nice role players, but they won’t move the needle that much and Miami will need to include two first-round picks in an effort to win right now with James, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Kyle Lowry on the squad. Quite frankly, that team could go all the way and it would almost be a guaranteed Finals berth in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers form their own dynamic duo with Butler and Anthony Davis that could be a force in the West, especially if Russell Westbrook is motivated to stay and play like an All-Star with the ball in his hands again. Overall, this could be a massive win-win for both sides and especially for LeBron James.
Trade Scenario No. 2
Trade Package: Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro For LeBron James
Perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers would not want Jimmy Butler, for they could not endure another season of having a rather egotistical star join the likes of Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Instead, they might want to replace LeBron James with two All-Star-caliber players that can score and defend. The pieces the Lakers could want are Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, and Miami probably would want to keep Jimmy Butler to pair with James.
LeBron and Butler would be a dynamic duo on the wings because both are elite offensive players and Jimmy can guard the opposing team’s best player to conserve James’ energy. LeBron has never played with another elite wing player before, and Butler would be a breath of fresh air for the first time since a prime Dwyane Wade was locking people up. Miami would also complete the lineup with Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker while filling in the two-guard spot with one of the array of shooters they currently have.
Instead of paying max money for Tyler Herro, they could package him and Bam Adebayo for a chance to acquire one of the top-five players who ever played the game. A duo of Butler and James would go a long way in the Eastern Conference, and the amount of damage they could do when competing against the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid would be exciting to watch. The Los Angeles Lakers also greatly benefit from this deal because Tyler Herro could be a franchise player in due time and Bam is still young at age 24. The brightest name in this deal, Bam averaged 19.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG during the regular season and 15.6 PPG and 8.7 RPG in the postseason so far. A Big Three of Davis, Bam, and Herro would be exciting to watch, and Russell Westbrook might also be able to return to All-Star form without LeBron James by his side.
Trade Scenario No. 3
Trade Package: Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro For LeBron James
By far the best trade scenario for the Los Angeles Lakers would be the trade of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro for LeBron James. The Lakers absolutely win this deal, because both Butler and Herro are capable of being All-Stars next season alongside Anthony Davis and possibly Russell Westbrook. Westbrook can be a triple-double threat when he has the ball in his hands, and he will be able to feed Butler, Davis, and Herro without LeBron James hurting his production. The Lakers can legitimately make the NBA Finals without LeBron James, something that is amazing to imagine. As currently constructed, the Lakers are not going anywhere as they finished with a 33-49 record, because LeBron James and Russell Westbrook cannot co-exist on the court and that is a fact.
Meanwhile, LeBron James joins a Miami Heat roster that is filled with shooters (Max Strus, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson) and an All-Star center who probably should have won Defensive Player of the Year. Considering Victor Oladipo could be signed to a nice contract with both Butler and Herro (likely max contract) out of the way, Miami could re-tool very nicely. A starting lineup of Lowry, Oladipo, LeBron, Tucker, and Bam would be a strong one on both ends of the floor. Not to mention, James has a rapport with Erik Spoelstra and they knew how to win together.
For LeBron James, he has a chance to get back to Miami and try to win his 5th championship before he rides off into the sunset. The King does not owe Miami fans anything after taking the franchise to 4 straight Finals, but it would break all media outlets if he could somehow bring another championship to the famous franchise. With his current roster on the Lakers, perhaps James just wants a way out and both sides of a deal would benefit from a blockbuster deal. It won’t be easy to trade LeBron James, but Miami might have the best possible trade packages to somehow pull off one of the most shocking trades in NBA history.