LeBron James claims it is inappropriate to inquire about the Los Angeles Lakers’ prospective trade strategies. On December 18, after the team’s victory over the Washington Wizards, James advised fans to contact general manager Rob Pelinka with their inquiries.
James replied, “Not a question for me. “I am clueless. I show up, get ready, go to work, and get my teammates ready to go win a basketball game when I’m playing. We’ll see since I participate in the game but am not in charge. However, my attention is mostly on the game and our efforts to win basketball games, especially when I’m on the court.”
Ask [GM] Rob [Pelinka] those inquiries, please.
Few issues have sparked as many headlines and discussions on television, radio, and podcasts as the Lakers’ trade options. The initial discussions were all centered on Russell Westbrook, but he has since performed well enough off the bench that a relocation looks unlikely. Any transaction the Lakers make for a big upgrade would have to involve one or both of their highly wanted first-round selections in 2027 and 2029, regardless of whether Westbrook is included or not.
The big question is whether the Lakers will actually trade those picks. During media day, Pelinka stated that the Lakers would be open to trades, but only for the “right” deal. According to a preseason report from Marc Stein, James was told that the franchise will use draft assets to enhance the roster.
However, nothing has occurred up until this time. The Lakers’ awful 2-10 start to the season, which put them at the bottom of the league standings, is mostly to blame for that. Moving the choices at that time was not logical. A subsequent 11-7 record rekindled trade speculation, but before anything could be finalized, Anthony Davis suffered a foot injury and will now be sidelined for one month.
The Lakers’ net rating is plus-2.7 points per 100 possessions with Davis on the court, and it drops to minus-6.6 when he is not; previous to becoming hurt, Davis was playing some of the finest basketball of his career. The Lakers are in a difficult situation as a result of his impending absence and the fact that he has a higher injury risk. If they could ensure that James and AD would be healthy, it would be one thing to trade those picks and take advantage of the James-AD window. However, there is a genuine possibility that they might trade the choices, have Davis get hurt once more, and lose both their present and their future.
James, who will turn 38 on December 30, is claiming that he does not want to discuss the issue, but he has made it obvious in other ways how he feels. James “does not want to waste a season of his high-level playing days,” according to a Bleacher Story report. When praising Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a special episode of “The Shop” in November, James remarked, “If you have a transcendent franchise player like Aaron Rodgers… Why wouldn’t you surround that, when you had the picks, to maximize what he can do?” There was no doubt that the Lakers were being mentioned in that comment.
The Lakers still had nearly two months if they chose to pursue the option before the trade deadline on February 9. However, it might not be worthwhile to make a deal after Davis returns if they struggle in the interim without him and fall back down the Western Conference standings.