With the Los Angeles Lakers sitting below .500 and in the ninth seed, the rumblings of a possible LeBron James departure have begun to get louder and louder.
Some have pointed to the similarities between the current Lakers and the 2018 Cleveland Cavaliers where it was clear James was not happy with the situation. Things got even more out of hand over All-Star Weekend when James said that he would not rule out a return to Cleveland and that his last year would be spent playing with his son Bronny James.
While James’ comments are certainly concerning and could be an indication that he could leave, head coach Frank Vogel did not think much of it and focused on enjoying his time off instead.
“No, I learned to let the noise be noise and focus on what’s in front of me, which is winning the next game,” Vogel said when asked if James’ comments affected his All-Star break. “It’s one thing if it’s focusing on my family at the break, I enjoyed the break with my family, so that’s just noise.”
Vogel added that even though James’ musings about leaving could leave for some awkwardness for the team, he said that things have been just fine when they got together for practice on Thursday.
“Not even a little bit,” Vogel said when asked if there was awkwardness. “We understand that he had a big weekend being back home, it wasn’t just a normal All-Star Weekend, we always give guys a little extra time to take it in, and there’s nothing more than that.”
James perhaps could have been playing up the media in his native Cleveland, but so far there has been no concrete reporting that he is mulling another departure. In fact, insiders like The Athletic’s Shams Charania expect the superstar to remain in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future and for him to ride things out regardless of their issues on the basketball court.
However, things can change quickly in the NBA and how the Lakers finish the remainder of the 2021-22 season could play a role in James’ decision. It will be interesting to see how well the Purple and Gold play down the stretch and how engaged James looks.
Rich Paul denies Klutch Sports and LeBron James are in conflict with Lakers
Another factor in James’ possible displeasure with the Lakers is them standing pat at the trade deadline. Much was made about Klutch Sports being unhappy that L.A. did not trade for John Wall, but Rich Paul went on the record to state that Klutch and James are not unhappy with the franchise.
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