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Miami Heat: The perfect timing for a LeBron James reunion

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

With his debut season in Los Angeles an unmitigated disaster, the timing is ideal for a LeBron James-Miami Heat reunion this summer.

The fact that it’s even being mentioned is something that, up until now, simply seemed unfathomable. Trading LeBron James, the greatest player of his generation and in the conversation for the title of greatest player ever, on the surface, seems unconscionable.

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However, given the circumstances of James’ initial season with the Los Angeles Lakers, this is something that cannot be completely ruled out. The subject first came to light on a nationally televised game in March between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics on ABC, when commentator Jeff Van Gundy raised the prospect of James being dealt:

“They have to rebuild this roster, and to me, it could be a trade for an Anthony Davis, or I think they need to explore trading LeBron for getting as much as they can….You’ve got to put everything on the table.”

Van Gundy’s remarks were quickly followed up in a report from Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. In a piece titled, “What could the Lakers get for LeBron? Not as much as you think,” Bucher outlined how the marketplace demand is certainly not as high as one would expect. When he quizzed a Western Conference owner about what he would give up for James’ services, the response was somewhat underwhelming:

“Depends on what I’d have to give up. I wouldn’t roll up the truck and give more than one protected first [round pick].”

LeBron might see an Emmy before his 4th championship ring, according to @JalenRose. pic.twitter.com/jJFFlbIONS

— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 5, 2019

Additionally, Bucher further elaborated on the possibility of James being traded:

“The subject of moving James, however, was contemplated by the Lakers, a team source said, weeks before Van Gundy aired it. When rumors engulfed the team at the February trade deadline that it was willing to trade anyone other than James to acquire All-Star forward Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, James’ agent, Rich Paul, was widely accused of spreading those rumors….The idea of terminating the franchise’s relationship with Paul by moving James at least crossed Buss’ mind, the team source said, and Paul was made aware of that. That prompted Paul to reach out to Buss to clear the air.”

There are multiple reasons why James has been mentioned as a possible trade piece.

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The main theme occurring has been James’ overall approach to the Lakers throughout the season. While his production levels from a statistical point of view virtually mirror that of his entire career, James’ general body language and seeming unwillingness to exert an acceptable level of effort on the defensive end of the floor did not go unnoticed.

On an episode of Get Up on ESPN, college broadcaster Seth Greenberg didn’t hold back in his critique of James.

LeBron has done many incredible things, but @SethOnHoops says he’s a “horrendous” teammate. pic.twitter.com/7obF4AhT7C

— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) March 6, 2019

Among other things, Greenberg noted:

“I think he kills your locker room. He has nothing in common with any of those millennials….He is horrendous as a teammate, and especially now as a teammate where he doesn’t have his guys.”

Lakers are sitting out LeBron James for the rest of the season, team says.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 30, 2019

Adding weight to this was a scathing article by highly respected columnist Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. Having covered the Los Angeles sporting scene for over two decades, Plaschke is well versed in how teams and players are received in the City of Angels.

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In his piece titled, “LeBron James’ inaugural Lakers season ends as a complete bust,” Plaschke was savage in his assessment of James’ first season with the Lakers, following the news that James would be sitting the final portion of the season:

“It’s official now, the final curtain falling on what might be the most disillusioning individual season in Los Angeles sports history. Think about where this journey started. Think about where, nearly a year later, it has stalled. The drop in elevation has been staggering.”

Furthermore, Plaschke questioned James’ motives in terms of whether he was fully invested from the outset:

“But as a Laker, he was never completely invested. To many, it appeared he had come to Los Angeles mainly to promote his many entertainment projects. At times, it even appeared basketball was a glorified hobby.”

Granted, these are all external opinions, and will undoubtedly have next to no impact as it pertains to James’ future aspirations. However, there is one enormous difference with James’ current predicament than what he’s previously experienced.

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