I wonder if it's too late for the Los Angeles Lakers to jump in the LeBron James sweepstakes.
As much as I hate to admit it, he's the present and future of the NBA for the next decade or so.
It's not just the Christmas game I'm talking about; if you watched him this season, you'll see how what he did in Cleveland was not a fluke and if you look at the Cavs' record this year (worst in the East...my golly!) from how they had the best record in the league the past two years with LeBron, you get a good idea of what this young man brings to the table.
We have a good month before the trade deadline to make this work. I think a fair trade would be LeBron for Kobe and Andrew Bynum. There is no way Miami would take a straight LeBron-for-Kobe deal, but Drew would entice them to strengthen their interior against Boston, who are having their own troubles with injuries right now.
I know the salaries won't be balanced, so Miami would have to throw in some of their minimum salary players, which is basically anyone not named James, Wade or Bosh.
So, we have our pick from Juwan Howard, Eric Dampier, Carlos Arroyo, James Jones, Big Z, etc. Or Mike Miller, who's a $5 million man, and Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, who are both making $3 million-plus.
Draft picks probably won't come into the equation, since Miami's draft picks will be garbage for the next 10 years.
I know Kobe has a "no-trade clause" in his contract (bad move Jerry), but there has to be a way to convince him. In Miami, he plays for the best team in the East, almost a shoo-in to get into the Finals this year.
With the Lakers, we'd be lucky to get out starting at the second round, getting matched up with the Mavs or if our season really tanks we'll see the Spurs, both teams playing better than we are when healthy.
We might even see a first round matchup against the Thunder again, which could prove fatal.
So the bottom line is Kobe has a better chance at a title this year with the Heat. He can play the 3 while Wade plays the 2 with Bosh at the 4 and Drew at the 5. Who's at the 1 for the Heat doesn't really matter.
If we get LeBron, plus some of the Heat's hard-working bench, we have a shot for our three-peat! LeBron just confounds the rest of the league with his talent, skills and ability, and no team has the matchup for his strength, quickness and explosiveness.
You put Fisher/Blake at the 1, LeBron at the 2, Artest at the 3, Lamar at the 4 and Pau at the 5. Can you imagine that lineup? Odom deserves to be the starter and with Drew gone to Miami, he will be.
With LeBron as strong and versatile that he is, you can even put him at the 3, and put Lamar and Artest intertwined at the 2 and 4, to confound our opponents and depending on the matchup against the other teams.
Sounds crazy, but Odom can play four positions well, and we only really need Artest for defense so it doesn't really matter where we put him on offense, just that he's open for the occasional wild 3 pointer.
With LeBron on our team, I don't think that will even happen that much.
If we do end up playing the Heat in the Finals, I believe LeBron will bring us over the top. We would need Pau to be more aggressive against Bosh, we could probably put Artest on Drew to get in his head, Lamar can take on Miller, Barnes will take on Wade and LeBron will take on Kobe. I'm confident we will win this matchup.
Remember Lakers Nation, we're LAKER FANS, not necessarily Kobe fans. As much as I loved Kobe for what he's brought us over the years, one player does not a team make.
And once he's with the Heat, all bets are off, just like Shaq a half decade ago.