If Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss decides to trade LeBron James, should the Cleveland Cavaliers pursue bringing him back?
CLEVELAND — It is safe to say that LeBron James’ first season in the Los Angeles Lakers organization did not go smoothly.
From team issues with now-former coach Luke Walton to James’ pulled groin muscle, the Lakers had no shortage of things that derailed their pursuit of the postseason for a sixth consecutive season and resulted in a 37-45 record and 10th place finish in the Western Conference.
Things have apparently gotten worse within the organization in recent days, as they were unable to sign coach Tyronn Lue to a contract to replace Walton, and then, came the rumors about Lakers owner Jeanie Buss being told by her closest advisors, including the wife of executive Kurt Rambis, that dealing James would be in the best interest of the team.
If Buss is convinced that trading James is a good idea, where would he go?
More importantly, would the Cleveland Cavaliers want him back? And if so, what would it cost them?
Another welcome home?
If the Lakers choose to trade James, could it be to his former team?
Well, the Cavaliers should consider it from a competitive standpoint, especially after tying for the second-worst record in the NBA during the 2018-2019 season and posting a sub-20-win record for the first time in five years.
Also, there are pieces, namely power forwards Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr., swing player Cedi Osman and point guard Collin Sexton, in place that could be complementary to James’ talents, or even be used to acquire him from the Lakers.
What would it take?
This is where it gets interesting.
If James publicly requests a trade, the Lakers’ asking price likely will not match what the market considers fair.
The Cavaliers find out Tuesday night where they will be picking in the NBA Draft lottery, and if it were a top-three choice, holding onto the selection makes a lot of sense. The worst the Cavaliers could pick is No. 6, but if the worst-case scenario happens, who would they get that could do for them what James has in the past?
If the Cavaliers win the NBA Draft Lottery, under no circumstances should they trade the No. 1 overall pick for a soon-to-be 35-year old James.
Limited to 55 games because of a mid-season groin injury, James averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 51 percent from the field, 33.9 percent from three-point range and a career-worst 66.5 percent from the free-throw line in his first year with the Lakers.
James’ numbers in every statistical category declined from his last year with the Cavaliers to this season in Los Angeles.
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