How is it that Fox Sports talking heads still don’t know the Los Angeles Lakers can’t trade LeBron James this season?
Skip Bayless was the latest to get exposed on the blunder, stating the Lakers should have dealt James to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Kyrie Irving ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. The Lakers were reportedly interested in acquiring Irving after he handed Brooklyn his trade request. But without Los Angeles having many assets to deal, the polarizing point guard ultimately landed with the Dallas Mavericks.
“I’m gonna start with a grand plan hypothetical,” Bayless said Tuesday morning on FS1’s Undisputed. “LeBron never would have done this, but if he wanted to maximize his opportunity to win at least one more ring, the way to have done it would be to push for Kyrie to be traded straight up for LeBron.”
LeBron should’ve asked the Lakers to trade him straight-up for Kyrie, so the King could join Kevin Durant to win another ring 👀@RealSkipBayless pic.twitter.com/nPeqKRBH22
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 7, 2023
According to Bayless, LeBron has a better chance of winning a championship alongside Kevin Durant in Brooklyn than he would with Russell Westbrook and the oft-injured Anthony Davis in Los Angeles.
“If you really wanted to push hard for something, that would have worked,” Bayless added of his grand plan for Los Angeles to trade James.
But it literally would not have worked. Because the Lakers can’t trade LeBron James. And not like ‘can’t trade’ because he’s LeBron James and he’s too valuable to trade. They can’t trade him because he signed a two-year, $97 million contract extension with the Lakers last August. Under NBA rules, a player can’t be traded until at least six months after signing a contract.
For James and the Lakers, that date is Feb. 14, five days after this season’s trade deadline. So unless the Lakers were able to convince the NBA to change its rules mid-season, James can’t be traded, which makes the hypothetical of trading James this week even more laughable than usual. Bayless might as well make the argument that James should just opt out of his current contract today and sign with whoever he wants for the rest of the season.
Bayless isn’t alone in making the gaffe. His Fox Sports colleague Colin Cowherd made the same mistake this season, imploring the Lakers to trade the “very tradable” LeBron James, disregarding the fact that he is not tradable per NBA rules.
Our guy @ColinCowherd, who is not big on research, just spent ten minutes begging the Lakers to trade the “very tradable” LeBron James immediately.
Please disregard the fact that he is not eligible to be traded until next season. pic.twitter.com/V05yDZWCbq
— Funhouse (@BackAftaThis) December 30, 2022
This isn’t a new rule. It’s also been a widely-reported one throughout the season, as LeBron appears increasingly frustrated by the mounting losses in Los Angeles. The Lakers need a rebuild and dealing LeBron for picks and financial flexibility is probably the quickest way to jumpstart that. But again, literally not possible to do this season.
Bayless says a lot of crazy things, but he can usually play them off as his opinion. Proposing to trade LeBron James was factually inaccurate. And for someone like Bayless, who talks about LeBron daily, to still be making this mistake days before the trade deadline is maddening.