NBA Scout justifies LeBron James trade to Phoenix Suns
One Western Conference scout has justified that Los Angeles Lakers superstar, and one of the most famous athletes in sports history, LeBron James would be a good fit for the Phoenix Suns, one of the best teams in the West.
According to Fox Sports NBA Reporter Rick Bucher:
“It’s the one place he’d be welcome with open arms,” the scout said. “In Phoenix, with LeBron, I think Chris would finally get his ring.”
“They need to think about moving LeBron and Anthony Davis,” the scout added. “They just have too many holes to fill.”Check out the full quotes here.
This scout isn’t the only one to throw out this idea. The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor proposed the possible pairing in early August, before James inked his extension.
“LeBron is BFFs with Chris Paul and old friends with James Jones,” O’Connor wrote. “The Suns want Durant. Wouldn’t they also want LeBron? Phoenix is a great city itself, Arizona has lower taxes than California, and it’s just a short flight from Los Angeles. LeBron would get accused of riding coattails, but the Suns fell short in 2020-21, looked beatable in 2021-22, and are getting a little long in the tooth in 2022-23.”Full story here.
While the thought of uniting with Chris Paul to potentially form a Paul-James-Devin Booker triumvirate is enticing, James’ two-year, $97.1 million contract extension — which does not kick in until next season ($46.9M), which runs through the 2024-25 season — prevents him from being traded until Feb. 18, 2023, nine days after the 2022-23 NBA Trade Deadline. Thus, he cannot be traded until this upcoming offseason.
And what would a trade look like?
The Suns have all of their future first-round picks available for trade. They also only have five players on fully guaranteed contracts next season: Booker ($36M), Deandre Ayton ($32.5M), Paul ($30.8M), Mikal Bridges ($21.7M) and Landry Shamet ($10.3M), with Cam Payne on a partially guaranteed deal that could worth $6.5 million.
Would Phoenix be willing to put together a package of Ayton, with three years and ~$102 million left on his extension, and/or Shamet/Bridges plus a couple of first-round picks for James? We know that the Lakers should command a respectable haul for James (yes, even at this point of his career) and the Suns would have to piece together a deal to make the money match, since both teams are in the tax.
Maybe Phoenix, who allegedly hasn’t valued the draft over the last several years, would be more inclined to trade more FRP’s, especially if the Lakers have to shell one or two in a possible Russell Westbrook trade?
There’s avenues where it could *possibly* work, even though it doesn’t feel realistic. Hey, the thrill of the unknown can be fun (well, unless you’re a Laker fan.)!
At this point, is it not an overstatement to claim that the Lakers, who placed No. 26 (out of 30) in our site’s November power rankings, are in a tumultuous state that could be considered a ticking time bomb. They blitzed Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets 116-103 on Sunday night, behind Anthony Davis‘ best game of the season — 37 points and 18 rebounds on 15-25 shooting — without James, but they are still 3-10 with the NBA’s fourth-worst NET Rating (minus-6.0).
Rumors have floated around Davis potentially being available for trade, and now LeBron James’ name has been inserted into the conversation. I don’t think it’s necessary feasible that a deal for one of the two get complete over the next several months, but the thought of it is certainly fun — like most out-of-the-blue trade rumors are.
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