Grade the Trade: LeBron James heads home as Lakers land superstar in bold proposal

In a bold trade proposal, the Los Angeles Lakers land a new superstar by sending LeBron James home.
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards
Los Angeles Lakers v Washington Wizards / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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Grading the trade for the Lakers

From the Los Angeles Lakers' perspective, there are reasons why this proposed deal would make a lot of sense but also reasons why they should be opposed to it. For one, losing LeBron James is a pretty big deal. It will hurt the team's business and make the Lakers a little less interesting. Even though Donovan Mitchell is a great player, he's not as bright of a star as LeBron is - and I'm not sure that's something anyone would argue with.

At the same time, there's an argument to be made that the Lakers would be set up for the next 3-5 years as a perennial contender in the Western Conference. With LeBron essentially being a year-to-year question at this point in his career, the addition - and eventual extension - of Mitchell would help give the Lakers some stability moving into the next few seasons.

Even though you don't want to be known for trading away arguably the best player of all time, this is a deal that could set the franchise up for a title in the next few seasons. Even if the Lakers are able to make a move for another All-Star difference-maker this summer, there's no guarantee they'll be able to win another title in the LeBron window as he begins to age into his 40s.

From a strict basketball perspective, how could the Lakers not be open to a potential Mitchell swap for LeBron?

Grade: A-