NBA insider believes Lakers are selling LeBron James on dream of Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal in offseason

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

An NBA insider believes that the frustration felt by Los Angeles Lakers veteran LeBron James is being met by the team promising him that it will net Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal in the offseason.

Chris Mannix and Howard Beck of discussed possible deals across the league, with Mannix noting that keeping James happy is likely compelling the Lakers to at least inquire about such deals.

“Internally, I’m sure the Lakers are selling James on an offseason when Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard becomes available, and L.A. swoops in with its picks to acquire them,” Mannix said. “But that’s more fantasy than reality.”

James joined the Lakers as a free agent in 2018 and struggled through injuries during his first season with the team. However, during the interrupted 2019-20 campaign, he helped lead the team to its first league title since 2010.

That championship was the high point of James’ tenure with the team. Further injuries to not only James but teammate Anthony Davis ruined the next two seasons.

This year, Davis is again injured and the team is once again struggling with a 19-23 record. Simply competing in the postseason isn’t guaranteed, with James recently letting loose with the aforementioned frustration.

Adding a player like Lillard or Beal would immediately give the Lakers one of the best backcourts in the NBA.

Lillard has spent his entire career with the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that’s in rebuilding mode. At 32, he’s still putting up big numbers, averaging 28.2 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game.

Beal, who turns 30 in June, has also spent his entire career with a single team, the Washington Wizards. He’s been among the NBA’s top scorers in recent years, though his numbers have dipped during the past two campaigns.

This season, Beal is averaging 22.9 points, 5.2 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Even though the numbers may not be at his peak level, they would definitely inject life into the Lakers’ offense.

Keeping James in a Lakers uniform is a necessity if the Lakers want to even have the opportunity to compete for another NBA title. He’s still delivering big numbers after turning 38 late last month.

However, getting Lillard or Beal would require the Lakers to give up the few top draft assets they still have. Whether or not they change their past reluctance remains to be seen.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.