Would the Los Angeles Lakers actually benefit from trading LeBron James?
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith suggested this week that the Los Angeles Lakers should strongly consider trading LeBron James this offseason.
There's no denying that the Lakers' season went far from well. They couldn't even manage to make the play-in tournament despite adding Russell Westbrook last summer, and they struggled with injuries throughout.
Westbrook struggled to find his niche on this team, and Anthony Davis dealt with a myriad of setbacks.
With no assets to trade to upgrade this roster, aside from the hope that some team still believes Davis has many prime years ahead of him and trades a king's ransom for him, should the Lakers actually entertain trading him?
Let's review the options laid out for the Lakers should they choose to offload LeBron.
As we all know, LeBron has already had two stints with the Cavs, as he was drafted by them with the first overall pick in 2003 before coming back as a free agent in 2014 after a four-year run with the Miami Heat.
This makes sense on a lot of different levels. The Cavs have a franchise point guard in Darius Garland, who has proven he can also be effective off the ball.
Garland is as untouchable as they come, and Evan Mobley will likely be off-limits as well. However, the Cavs may be willing to part with Jarrett Allen if it meant one last crack at a championship with LeBron.
Another one of LeBron's former teams - he won two championships with them back in 2012 and 2013.
If Jimmy Butler grows unhappy with this franchise, perhaps a swap could be in order. However, LeBron would likely only want to come back to South Beach if Butler was still here.
Bam Adebayo should also be seen as untouchable in any trade scenario.
Tyler Herro would likely be the centerpiece of any potential trade, as the Heat could then also attach Kyle Lowry to make salaries work and draft capital to make it more enticing.
Donovan Mitchell may not want to stay in Utah any longer, as he could be swapped for LeBron.
However, there is no universe in which LeBron would pack his bags for Salt Lake City after being in Hollywood for the last four years. This is not happening.
Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard has expressed loyalty to Portland, as he wants nothing more than to stay with the only team he's ever known.
Having recently traded CJ McCollum, the Blazers need a star next to Lillard to make those championship dreams come true.
Josh Hart and a signed and traded Anfernee Simons could entice the Lakers alongside draft capital.
This is unlikely to happen, but if LeBron has a chance to play with Lillard, you never know.