Some believe LeBron went to Cavs game to get closer look at Darius Garland as potential Lakers trade target

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Folks across the NBA have theorized that Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James attended Game 4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ second-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics to get a closer look at Darius Garland, per Grant Afseth of NBA Analysis Network.

“While it’s speculation, some league personnel who spoke with NBA Analysis Network believe James used his courtside viewing experience in Cleveland to look closer at Klutch Sports Group client Garland as a potential trade target for the Los Angeles Lakers,” Afseth wrote. “However, it remains to be seen what viable trade offering they have that helps the Cavaliers build around Mitchell.”

The report from Afseth comes just days after The Athletic’s Jovan Buha said that the Lakers are operating as if James will still be a member of the squad by the time the 2024-25 campaign rolls around.

“The Lakers are operating as if LeBron will be back,” Buha said. “That is how they are approaching their coaching search. That is how they are approaching their offseason plans in terms of how to build a roster and what to do around the draft and with the picks and whatnot.”

Game 4 of the Cavaliers-Celtics series went down to the wire, as Boston was up by five points with a little less than two minutes remaining in the game. But the Celtics ended up pulling out a seven-point victory on the road despite a big night from Garland, who dropped 30 points, three rebounds, seven assists and two steals on 12-of-27 shooting from the field.

It’s worth mentioning that James has spent 11 seasons of his NBA career playing for the Cavaliers across two separate stints. James led Cleveland to its only title in franchise history back in 2016 alongside Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.

But the oldest player in the NBA hasn’t been a member of the Cavaliers since he carried the team to an NBA Finals appearance in 2018.

James has spent the last six seasons of his career with the iconic Lakers franchise. During the 2023-24 regular season, he averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game while enjoying a fruitful season scoring behind the 3-point arc, as a career-high 41.0 percent of his 3s found the bottom of the net.

But his sixth season in Los Angeles came to an end after the team fell to the Denver Nuggets in five games in the opening round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

Considering Lakers floor general D’Angelo Russell didn’t exactly play at a high level against Denver (14.2 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting from the floor), perhaps Los Angeles should make a push to trade for Garland in the offseason.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.