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Trade LeBron James? ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy believes Lakers should explore it

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Trade LeBron James? ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy believes Lakers should explore it originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

So, 15.5 games separate the Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers, but it feels like double that after what happened Saturday.

Not only did the Lakers lose to the Boston Celtics, their dreaded rivals, at home, but Los Angeles reportedly decided to shut down former No. 2 draft pick Lonzo Ball for the rest of the season. Coach Luke Walton also announced before the game that the Lakers would shut down another former No. 2 pick: Brandon Ingram

Ball and Ingram, of course, had their names floated in Anthony Davis trade rumors ahead of the deadline, only to stay in purple and gold after no deal was completed. If you ask ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy, no Laker should be safe from trade speculation.

Not even LeBron James.

“I think they need to explore trading LeBron for as much as they can,” Van Gundy said on ABC’s Lakers-Celtics broadcast. ” … You’ve gotta get on the right timeline. If I could trade him [to] the Clippers, into cap space, which would give me a better chance to get [Kevin] Durant or [Kawhi] Leonard, would I not do that?”

[RELATED: KD reminds Dubs of his defensive impact]

Not even three months ago, the Lakers looked like they were on the rise. They badly beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena on Christmas Day, and were fourth in the Western Conference. 

Since then, Los Angeles is just 10-22, and has struggled trying to rediscover that early season success while Ball and James missed significant time. As a result, James’ first season in Hollywood almost certainly will end without a trip to the playoffs, and the Lakers’ postseason drought would hit six seasons. 

It looked at one point like the Warriors again would have to overcome a LeBron-led squad in pursuit of a title, but Golden State only will play Los Angeles once more on April 4. What difference a few months make. 

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