LeBron James’ first year with the Los Angeles Lakers did not go according to plan.
While James impressed through the opening stretch of the season, an injury left the LeBron-less Lakers to flounder through a treacherous Western Conference, and Los Angeles wound up missing the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
After a tumultuous start to the offseason that included the sudden departure of Magic Johnson, who was the team’s president of basketball operations, and a chaotic search to fill out a new coaching staff and front office, it feels more likely than ever that James might not wind up playing out the end of his deal in Los Angeles.
Rumblings of James’ potential departure began in earnest with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who was reporting on the Lakers front office turmoil ahead of a Warriors playoff game. After detailing why the Lakers’ talks with former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue had fallen apart, Smith said that president Jeanie Buss was hearing all sorts of ideas on how she could kick-start the team’s turnaround.
“Nothing is out of bounds right now,” Smith said. “We don’t know what the hell is going on in Los Angeles. You’ve got folks close to Jeanie Buss imploring her to trade LeBron James. He does not have a no-trade clause, and now you haven’t given him the coach that he wanted.”
On Monday, Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports Philadelphia added a bit of fuel to the fire, saying that the Philadelphia 76ers might be a destination for King James.
“I think they very well might explore that,” a rival executive told Haberstroh of Philadelphia’s potential to trade for LeBron.
After the Sixers’ heartbreaking loss to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals, there are plenty of questions about what the team will look like next year, with both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris set to become free agents and Philadelphia unlikely to bring back both players on the massive, possibl