The Los Angeles Lakers may be at a crossroads after the surprise resignation of Magic Johnson, one that could have the team doing something once seen as unthinkable — trading LeBron James.
Magic’s resignation adds to the uncertain future for the Lakers after the team stumbled in the first year of the LeBron James era. Any hopes that LeBron would drag the bottom-dwelling team to the playoffs as he had for his more mediocre Cleveland Cavaliers teams were dashed as the Lakers struggled through injuries and inconsistency, while also striking out on attempts to trade for NBA All-Star Anthony Davis.
The situation is now ripe for rumors, and Colin Cowherd is jumping right in. During a segment this week discussing the future for the Los Angeles Lakers, Cowherd presented two likely directions for the team. The first and most likely option would be to continue along the same path, following through on plans to target some of the big-name free agents who will be available this offseason.
The other option laid out by Cowherd would be much riskier. He said the Lakers could decide to scrap their current project, trading LeBron James and instead focusing on the team’s young pieces. A trade for LeBron would likely net plenty of new resources including top draft picks that the Lakers could use for a rapid rebuild.
"The Lakers have 2 choices:— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 10, 2019
A) Turn the team over to LeBron. Hire Ty Lue or Mark Jackson. Hire David Griffin as GM. Go after Kyrie and give up all the young assets and get AD.
B) Build a new culture. Keep your young guys... This would involve trading LeBron." — @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/kbWXPKeWKz
While there is no indication that the Lakers would be looking to trade LeBron James, there are growing indications of trouble within the locker room. A new report from The Athletic claimed that LeBron’s teammates grew more distant after he suffered a groin injury in December and became less present.
LeBron did not travel while he was rehabbing and would arrive at home games just before tipoff, often with a bottle of wine, the report noted. During this time, Rajon Rondo was also rehabbing from a sprained finger and, in contrast to LeBron, was still close with the team.
“[Rondo] shot left-handed in post-practice shooting games and hung around the locker room,” the report noted, via Yahoo Sports.
“When the Lakers’ plane left for Sacramento the day after Christmas, Rondo met the plane at the airstrip. With cookies.”
Report: Lakers teammates became distrustful of LeBron James over Anthony Davis trade talks https://t.co/HloByVugEV— wayne davidson (@waynedavidson2) April 10, 2019
The Los Angels Lakers have not given any indication what will happen with LeBron James or the team’s direction in general after Magic Johnson’s resignation, but it may take some time for the dust to settle. Magic’s resignation was reportedly shocking to the team, which had no indication that he even had thoughts about leaving his role with the team.