Grade the Trade: LeBron heads east as Raptors join 3-team blockbuster proposal

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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Laying out the LeBron James 3-team trade

As laid out here on our sister site Lake Show Life, if LeBron James were to go to the Los Angeles Lakers and demand a trade, they likely accommodate his request. What's more, if the Cleveland Cavaliers were to send back a star-level player of their own, the value would clearly be enough to get the Lakers' attention.

The problem for Cleveland is that they don't have an obvious path to adding Bronny James. The draft stock on the young wing is all over the place; he is a plus athlete with an incredible pedigree, but he also had a poor freshman season on a bad USC team. He almost certainly won't go in the first round of June's NBA Draft, but the Cavaliers can't bet on him going undrafted either.

Enter the Toronto Raptors, who own the 31st pick in the 2024 NBA Draft and could get involved in a three-team trade to add a valuable player to the roster. He is what such a deal could look like:

LeBron Bronny LAL CLE TOR trade

The Los Angeles Lakers get back a true star in exchange for a player pushing 40 years old and on an expiring contract. Donovan Mitchell can pair with Anthony Davis and keep the league's most popular team competing for the playoffs. Caris LeVert can either start with Mitchell or come off the bench as the team's sixth man. Together, they bring a lot of ball-handling, playmaking and scoring back to Los Angeles.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers, they land the greatest player in NBA history for a third time, this time for what is almost surely his swan song. They also give up Georges Niang, a sharpshooting stretch-4 who has been a valuable bench player but not an irreplaceable one. They do so, also sending a future second and taking on the salary of Jalen McDaniels, in order to secure Bronny James.

LeBron is still playing at a high level, but the Cavaliers are all-the-same making a big swing on next year. Bronny will have little to offer, and may never be a rotation player, but LeBron can pair with Darius Garland to lead the offense with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

The Lakers would make this trade because LeBron asked them to, and the Cavaliers because of the value LeBron brings even if it is for a short time. What about the Toronto Raptors; do they make this deal?