Pro No. 1 for the Lakers to consider trading LeBron James: Reset the title window
Moving off of LeBron James might cause short-term pain, but it would allow the Lakers to reset their title window. Unlike most franchises, being good is not good enough for the Lakers. No franchise is under more intrinsic pressure to win a championship, and this is clearly not a championship-quality team.
The Lakers are out a ton of draft picks, but Anthony Davis is still a game-wrecking two-way force, Austin Reaves is locked into a team-friendly deal, and James is making $47.6 million this season with a $51.4 million player option. No team is more appealing to free agents and trade targets than the Lakers, and a few extra picks and a massive amount of cap space would allow the Lakers to quickly open up another title window.
There’s no guarantee the Lakers could pull it off, but what is a guarantee is that the Lakers have not pulled it off this season. James isn’t the reason the Lakers’ title window is shut, but moving him will give them the tools to open it back up.
Con No. 2 for the Lakers to consider trading LeBron James: Throwing the white flag
Fans and media members usually view front office decisions through a hyper-rational lens, but that often misses the human element. Trading James is a massive organizational white flag and is an admission of failure.
The Lakers have done the hardest part of roster building– acquiring two All-NBA talents. Giving up on that advantage shows a complete lack of imagination and belief. Why would the organization admit they don’t believe in this team, front office, and coaching staff? That might not sound like a massive negative, but those are the actual people that make up an NBA team.