Phil Jackson, the legendary head coach who guided the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships in the 2000s, is reportedly advising the franchise in its search for a new leader on the sideline. And although he's not in charge of making personnel moves -- his time as a league front office executive was unsuccessful -- Jackson's retooling plan reportedly involves the team parting ways with its superstar captain.
According to Los Angeles Times writer Bill Plaschke, Jackson has told Lakers owner Jeanie Buss that he'd prefer to see LeBron James traded this summer and disgruntled star Russell Westbrook remain on their roster. Los Angeles is in dire need of changes -- they failed to make the playoffs this season with a 33-49 record. And although the notion of shopping James seems imprudent, SiriusXM NBA Radio host Rick Kamla believes that they should trade him, and to one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
"Jeanie has said they're not trading LeBron and as long as he wants to play in L.A., I don't think that he'll be traded. But, if I'm in charge, I'm trading LeBron," Kamla explained to The Zach Gelb Show on Thursday. "And I'm trading him to the Golden State Warriors. I'm getting Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga -- who I believe has All-Star potential -- Moses Moody, James Wiseman, and I'm probably getting some picks... If I'm the Lakers, I'm hitting the reset button.
"Do you think next year, or the year after, that LeBron and Anthony Davis will leave whatever the construction is around them to a championship?... If I'm the Lakers -- you know that old cartoon with the little handle and the TNT -- I'm blowing it up. And I'm trading Davis to the New York Knicks... I'm moving forward in a new direction. And guess what else is part of this equation? No Rich Paul, no Klutch Sports. I'm taking my team back. That's what I'd do."
In a season chock-full of injuries, dysfunction, and poor roster management, James ironically produced one of his most impressive campaigns. In 56 total games, the 37-year-old averaged a team-high 30.3 points -- his highest mark since the 2009-10 season -- with 8.2 boards, 6.2 assists, and 1.3 steals over 37.2 minutes. But carrying Los Angeles wasn't a one-man job. It was the first time that a James-led team ever played 16-plus games below the .500 mark. James has one year left on his contract, set to earn $44 million in 2022-23.
As for the Warriors -- still led by the star trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green -- they're in the midst of yet another title run, scheduled to play Game 6 of their second-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday at Chase Center. With a 3-2 series lead, Golden State has a 76-percent chance to make the West Finals and an 18-percent chance to make their sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2015, according to FiveThirtyEight projections.
The entire NBA conversation between Kamla and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.