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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 05: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns and LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers stand on the court during a break in the second quarter of their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on October 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Suns defeated the Lakers 119-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

With the Los Angeles Lakers limping to a 2-10 start, the trade rumors have begun in earnest, and not just involving Russell Westbrook.

One Western Conference scout told Ric Bucher of Fox Sports that the Phoenix Suns would be the perfect landing spot for LeBron James should the Lakers blow things up at some point.

“It’s the one place he’d be welcome with open arms,” the scout said. “In Phoenix, with LeBron, I think Chris [Paul] would finally get his ring.”

It’s hard to imagine the Lakers dealing James without him requesting a trade, though perhaps that isn’t farfetched given the team’s awful start to the 2022-23 season.

The Western Conference scout who spoke with Bucher believes the Lakers need some sort of foundational trade, and trading James isn’t the only one he’d consider.

“They need to think about moving LeBron and Anthony Davis,” he said. “They just have too many holes to fill.”

The Lakers, however, are rarely in the business of trading away star players. Traditionally, they have been the franchise that adds them, either via free agency or trade. It would go against character for the Lakers to move James and AD unless both requested a new destination.

And the Suns would have to send back close to $46.9 million in salary to match James’ contract next offseason (James isn’t eligible to be traded this season). Would the Lakers be interested in a deal centered on Deandre Ayton ($32.4 million), additional salary and draft considerations?

If they are in full rebuild mode, getting back an appealing young player like Ayton and a few first-round picks wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

It’s just hard to imagine the Lakers punting on the duo of James and Davis. It still seems more likely, even with the giant hole the team has dug for itself, that they’ll look to make a move to trade Westbrook first and add more shooting around their two stars.

Perhaps the Lakers should be considering a rebuild—but that just wouldn’t be like the Lakers.



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