Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

If the Los Angeles Lakers want to secure the future of the franchise, these two offers would accomplish that.

It has been a crazy few days for the Los Angeles Lakers, and things aren’t slowing down. The trade deadline is a week away and everybody in Lakerland has been focused on the Anthony Davis circus. Considering that Dell Demps, the Pelicans GM, won’t even talk to the Lakers front office about a deal, it seems like a long shot that AD will actually find his way to the Purple and Gold.

I’d like to steer the conversation away from Anthony Davis and start thinking about the future because the present doesn’t look great for the Lakers. Right now, the West is loaded with very good teams in Houston, Denver, and Oklahoma City. Of course, there’s also the monster up North whose ready to devour everyone and everything in the NBA.

The Lakers are currently in 9th place in the west but now that LeBron’s finally back from injury the Lakers should be able to make it into the playoffs, especially after eking out an overtime win against the 8th place Clippers.

With that said, it seems very unlikely the Purple and Gold will be able to overtake the Spurs for 5th place because they have the 2nd hardest remaining schedule in the league. If the Lakers finish as the 6th seed out west they’d have to beat a combination of either the Thunder, Blazers, Rockets, and Nuggets as the away team all to get the honor of playing the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Perhaps the Lakers will be able to gel over the last 30 games of the season and handle their business during the 1st two rounds of the playoffs and they do end up meeting the Warriors in the Conference Finals. I think, though, at this point, the more likely outcome is that the Lakers escape a difficult 1st round in seven games and then go on to lose in the 2nd round.

Is that a good result? Maybe to a fan base that’s been starving for playoff action for the last five years, an early exit from the postseason is good enough this year. I’d rather stop worrying about a 2nd round loss in the playoffs this season and start thinking toward a Lakers dynasty in the future.

So, I’m going to commit basketball blasphemy and suggest the Purple and Gold trade LeBron James. Before you call me an idiot, just hear me out.

LeBron is 34 years old and he’s played over 50,000 total minutes. While LeBron’s been on the court he’s been great, but he just missed 17 games with an obscure groin injury and those 17 games he’s been out, are the most of his career. It’s easy to assume that if he were five years younger, he’d have missed 2 or 3 games and then he’d have been back on the court.

LeBron’s going to start to break down sooner or later, and if his current injury can be used as evidence, the Lakers might be in for a long, injury-riddled four years.

The entire premise of the Lakers front office plan for the future is to add a second superstar via trade, (which seems very unlikely this year as I’ve already said), or to convince a max player like Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard to come to LA over the summer.

It’s safe to say that Durant and Kawhi are watching LeBron and his weird injury right now and I doubt either of them are feeling great about LeBron’s future prospects, because of the number of games he’s already missed this year. Do they really want to join the Lakers only to team up with an aging superstar who’s going to miss big chunks of the season due to injury? Probably not.

LeBron still has a huge amount of value across the league, and the Lakers are almost certainly not going to make any noise in the playoffs this year, so shouldn’t Magic and Pelinka at least consider trading their most valuable asset? If they do, it could set the Lakers up very well for the future.

Here are two trade scenarios that would probably stop the Lakers from the making the playoffs this year, but could provide a bright future for the Purple and Gold starting next season and would last for many years.

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