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LeBron James Trade Rumor Is As Insane As It Sounds

A disturbing report from Bill Plaschke of the LA Times emerges and involves iconic superstar LeBron James traded from LA.

I think I've read it all, now. According to a report, sort of, from Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Plaschke, Phil Jackson wants LeBron James to be traded from the Los Angeles Lakers.

You read that right. I had to read it a few times myself, as well as check the source. This is soo much for even The Onion to post. LeBron James traded from the Los Angeles Lakers? Are we going to trade Tom Brady after coming back out of retirement, too?

“I’ve heard that Phil would like LeBron traded. I’ve just heard that but I’ve got nothing to back that up. No on-the-record stuff to back that up. I do know that Phil would like to keep Westbrook and try to make that work with him.”

Splaschke

Bill Plaschke has a questionable or checkered reputation at best. He had a clear bias against Yasiel Puig (hindsight is 20-20 I guess) that many took as a racial bias. When Plaschke was included in a not-so-friendly but harmless Gatorade bath during a Dodgers 2018 celebration, milked it for all it was worth, including saying that he could have died from it. His columns often include opinions on LA sports teams that would make Eeyore seem a little too cheery. With all of that said, few writers have as many fingers in the world of LA sports as Plaschke. His good opinions are often profound despite the shots he misses. Information from Plaschke should be taken with a grain of salt and a shot of penicillin. 

In the rest of Plaschke's 15-minute interview, the bias starts to show. Just as he was with Puig, Plaschke is tired of LeBron James, and his narrative that "Phil Jackson wants him gone" starts to sound hollow as it becomes apparent that he shares the same opinion. Plaschke appears to have Phil Jackson as the strawman upon which Plaschke is building his narrative. 

Dan Woike of the LA Times has nixed the notion that the Lakers want to trade James. Bill Oram and Jovan Buha of The Athletic have also denied this assertion. 

Westbrook?

According to Plaschke, Phil Jackson would have the Lakers trade LeBron James but build the team more around Russell Westbrook. This preposterous notion is predicated on bad statistics. When LeBron James was on the floor, every notable statistic in the NBA has said that James was still playing at an elite level. Russell Westbrook's traditional statistics were pretty ugly, and the advanced metrics such as PER and VORP showed that Russell Westbrook was average. A PER of 15 is considered league average, and that number is exactly where Westbrook ended the season. His .2 VORP means he was only .2 better than the average point guard. While this may be surprising, as Westbrook tended to look decidedly below-average, it doesn't matter. An average point guard who is aging and has shown issues with attitude is not a player you build a team around. James comes with his baggage, but in no universe do you choose to keep Westbrook over LeBron James.

Just because Bill Plaschke is tired of LeBron James Laker's tenure doesn't mean we have to pay attention to him.