One of the biggest NBA storylines over the last few weeks has been LeBron James‘ potentially deteriorating relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers. James was reportedly disappointed with the front office’s inaction during the trade deadline, and that was followed by statements from James during All-Star Weekend that suggested he could eventually leave the Lakers for the Cleveland Cavaliers, or whichever team ends up selecting his son, Bronny, who would be eligible for the 2024 draft.
In the past several days, James has also praised the general managers of both the Los Angeles Rams and Oklahoma City Thunder, which some interpreted as hints at his displeasure with the current Lakers front office.
In an effort to clear the air, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, who is also the agent of James and Lakers forward Anthony Davis, met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Paul reportedly insisted that James and Klutch are making no effort to seek changes in the Lakers’ front office and that James”http://www.cbssports.com/”primary objective” is to remain with the franchise. More from ESPN:
“Paul — whose agency represents stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis — made it clear that James’ primary objective is remaining a Laker and the goal now ought to be to finish the season as strong as possible and then regroup in the offseason on ways to improve the team, sources said.”
After entering the year as one of the league’s championship favorites, the Lakers are now clinging to play-in position with Davis set to miss at least four weeks with a foot injury. Part of that is due to the substandard season from Russell Westbrook, whom the Lakers acquired this summer in exchange for a large chunk of their depth.
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James’ recent comments have fueled speculation that he and/or Klutch might put pressure on the Lakers to make changes in the front office, but Paul’s reported comments suggest that Pelinka is safe … for now, at least. Particularly after Davis’ latest injury, there seems to be at least a moderate acceptance from the Lakers that a championship may not be in the cards this season, and that focusing on this coming offseason and 2022-23 may be the most productive course of action moving forward.