LeBron James continues to make headlines at 37 years old, and it is likely he will continue to do so until the day he retires. The King is simply a fascinating figure in sports, and fans are often glued to the television because of the drama and excitement he brings. But unfortunately for Los Angeles Lakers fans, that has not come to their benefit. The Lakers are out of the playoffs this year, despite the fact that they have 3 superstars more or less in their prime.
Similar to the Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets are having a disappointing season. Kevin Durant will finish the season with under 58 games played due to injury, while Kyrie Irving has been a part-time player due to his refusal to take the covid vaccination. Of course, the James Harden hoopla came to an end before the trade deadline, but the player they brought in return has not been cleared to play until now.
With both teams struggling, it is obvious that changes need to be made for them to compete in the Western and Eastern Conferences. For the Lakers, their Big Three looked great on paper, but they have faltered on the court. The Nets had a Big Three of their own, but they too have failed on the court due to chemistry and availability issues. The best possible way to fix both teams could be a blockbuster deal to shake up the NBA: a LeBron James trade to the Brooklyn Nets. Here is the trade package that is available and why this works for both teams.
Trade Package: Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Bruce Brown, Cam Thomas, Nicolas Claxton, 2022 First-Round Pick for LeBron James
The Los Angeles Do Not Fit And Are Stuck As Currently Constructed
Obviously, the Russell Westbrook trade was one of the worst in recent memory for the Lakers. Westbrook is a former MVP and a future Hall of Famer, but his fit alongside LeBron James was never going to work. We already saw how Westbrook failed to make an impact in the playoffs alongside another ball-handler in James Harden with the Rockets, so it will be hard to imagine that the point guard would coexist with a major ball-dominant player in LeBron.
As currently constructed, the Lakers are stuck. Westbrook is on the books for another season on maximum money, and the rest of the roster is devoid of any defensive players with youth and energy. Los Angeles lost a host of two-way players since their championship season: Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Kyle Kuzma. They replaced them with older veterans without defensive capabilities: Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard, and others.
Add to it that undrafted rookie Austin Reaves and role player Malik Monk have been the most consistent performers for the Lakers outside of LeBron James. Perhaps most importantly, Anthony Davis has not looked like a top-10 player at all and has barely looked like a top-30 player when on the court. Simply put: this roster was poorly constructed at the start of the year.
Acquiring Ben Simmons Kickstarts A Quick And Efficient Rebuild
The best bet for the Lakers would be to kickstart a rebuild because they will not win with the roster as is. James will be 38 years old next year, and it is likely they will not be able to move Westbrook for another star player. That means another year running it back with James on his final legs will harm the Lakers’ future for years to come.
The best thing to do would be to rebuild around a future superstar player, and the perfect option would be Ben Simmons. Obviously, a team with Westbrook and Simmons together would break the internet with the countless “brick” memes. But the point is that Los Angeles will have a superstar in their hands without the risk of losing the next decade of their future with the hopes that James and Westbrook will co-exist on the floor.
And it might be possible that the Lakers perform better next year if Anthony Davis returns to full health alongside Simmons. And it might also be possible that Russell Westbrook accepts a 6th man role because that could suit his abilities best. If not, the next move will be finding a new home for Westbrook to make room for Simmons as LA’s new point guard.
Brooklyn Cannot Afford To Waste Kevin Durant’s Prime While Waiting For Ben Simmons
The Brooklyn Nets have played the waiting game far too long, and the fanbase is getting fed up. The first year following the Durant and Irving acquisitions was negligible because both stars combined for 20 games played. Last year, Durant only played 35 games and Irving only played 54 games. Of course, the team also traded for James Harden who had his own injuries in the postseason.
This year, the Nets were forced to wait for the New York mayor to change vaccination rules which is simply not acceptable for a contending team. Durant will also play under 58 games yet again, and Irving will play under 30 games as well. Adding to the fact that James Harden destroyed team chemistry, Brooklyn are lucky to be in a play-in position.
After finally getting rid of Harden and acquiring 3-time All-Defensive star Ben Simmons, the Australian is not available to play. For some reason, Simmons is struggling with back issues and that means Brooklyn’s contention in the playoffs this year is in dire threat.
The Nets Will Have The Scariest Team In The League
Assuming the Nets do not go far in the playoffs, which is expected considering their lack of chemistry, that marks the 3rd season that the Nets fail to capitalize on Kevin Durant’s prime. Next season, KD will be 34 years old as he nears the age where superstars start declining in athleticism and skills. While it is expected that Durant will be a top-5 player for at least 2 or 3 more reasons, time is of the essence, especially considering his injury history.
In acquiring 4-time NBA champion LeBron James, the Nets can form the greatest Big Three in NBA history. This is a dream come true for the Nets in multiple regards. First, James will immediately become the best playmaker on the floor for Brooklyn to allow Durant and Irving the space to focus on scoring the ball. Second, James reunites with former teammate Kyrie Irving as their fit is a match made in heaven.
James is a pass-first player, and Irving is a score-first player. They also won an NBA title in 2016 with James giving Irving the chance to nail one of the biggest shots in Finals history. Thirdly, Kevin Durant and LeBron James could be the greatest duo in NBA history. That is because they are a perfect fit on both ends of the floor, bringing size, skill, and basketball IQ.
There is no way teams can prepare for LeBron’s playmaking and strength at attacking the basket, especially with Durant and Irving available on the perimeter. All three stars can also create their own offense at will, meaning defenses will have no answer. LeBron is also a smarter and more reliable superstar than James Harden ever was for Brooklyn.
The Lakers Rebuild While The Nets Form The Greatest Big Three In NBA History
The Lakers need to cut their losses and force the roster into a rebuild, and that means giving up their prized possession in LeBron James. Lakers fans will probably not be happy to see The King leave, but they must realize completing another season with Westbrook and LeBron on the same team cannot happen again.
By moving LeBron James for Simmons, the Lakers have a cornerstone in place as the next move is finding a new team for Westbrook. Once they get rid of Russ, they will have a core of Simmons, Davis, Seth Curry, and Nic Claxton. Curry is one of the best shooters in the league and will space the floor around Simmons and Davis, while Claxton brings much-needed youth and length in the paint. Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Nic Claxton should also show improvements next year as they get more experience under their belts.
But there is no doubt the biggest winners in this blockbuster deal are the Brooklyn Nets and LeBron James. The Nets will create the most star-studded Big Three since Kevin Durant joined Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State. This will be a chance for NBA fans to imagine what it would be like if Kevin Durant joined LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland because that Big Three would guarantee an NBA championship.
Overall, the Nets cannot afford to waste any more of Durant’s prime as Ben Simmons continues to be a mystery as a professional basketball player. At the very least, the Nets know what they are getting with LeBron James. A gifted passer and the smartest player in the league, willing to accept a secondary offensive role for a chance to win his 5th NBA championship. With Durant and Irving, James can chase Michael Jordan’s ghost while creating the best version of “Showtime” since Magic Johnson took over the NBA.