Lakers Rumors: LeBron James Didn’t Apply Pressure To Front Office To Complete Pacers Trade
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

All summer long, many eyes were on the Los Angeles Lakers in expectation of a massive trade involving Russell Westbrook to be completed. The point guard’s fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis did not go well last season and with the team looking to maximize LeBron’s championship window while he’s with the franchise, some sort of deal was expected.

With the Lakers now having their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks available, many teams were interested in getting hold of them and the Lakers were willing to attach one or both in the right deal. One that was brought up throughout the offseason was one with the Indiana Pacers that would bring back Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.

That deal ultimately fell through as the Lakers were not willing to include both picks in the trade. Considering LeBron’s history of pushing front offices to make win-now moves in the past, some wondered whether he was ok with the Lakers’ decision to not make the move. But according to Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, James put no pressure on the Lakers to make that deal:

In addition, James has shown support publicly and privately to integrating Westbrook and playing with the former league MVP again this season, and multiple sources said he applied no pressure to the Lakers front office to do the Pacers’ deal. Seven months have passed since James’ tweet supporting the “f— them picks” approach of Rams GM Les Snead led some to wonder how he saw the Lakers’ strategy, and sources say he remains supportive of the current regime. And while Pelinka made it clear on media day that he’s willing to trade precious picks in the right deal, that time has yet to arrive.

As was noted, LeBron made his feelings clear months ago with that Les Snead tweet, but it seems as if he understands the Lakers’ approach this offseason and is embracing it. As Pelinka noted during Media Day, the Lakers have one chance to make a huge deal with these two valuable picks and a massive expiring in Westbrook and they have to get it right.

As good as Turner and Hield are, they simply are not gamechangers, which is what Pelinka is likely targeting in such a deal. In signing that contract extension, James made it clear that he believes the Lakers is the best place for him to win another championship and now he is, smartly, giving them time to make the right move to hopefully make that happen.

James, Westbrook & Davis focused on being aggressive

As it stands, LeBron, Westbrook and Davis will begin this season together and they must figure out how to make things work. With new coach Darvin Ham bringing a different system, Davis noted that there is an emphasis on aggression, as opposed to trying to be selfless.

Davis said that whoever gets the rebound or steal is being encouraged to push the ball immediately, being more aggressive attacking the basket as that will open up the rest of the floor.

The Lakers’ star big man added that with all three being unselfish players, they made too much of an effort trying to get the others integrated which led to things stagnating, something they hope to avoid this year.

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