It has been nearly three weeks since former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s resignation and LeBron James stayed quiet until one report.
As James prepares for the second year of his four-year, $154 million deal, Dave McMenamin of ESPN thought the trust between the two sides had been ‘damaged.’
While at the team’s practice facility, the 34-year-old quickly denied the report, but there is still some skepticism about how he truly feels.
As the Lakers missed the 2019 NBA playoffs, James reportedly knew Year 1 would be challenging, according to Sam Amick and Bill Oram of The Athletic:
Strange as it might sound, sources close to LeBron insist he always knew that Year No. 1 might have to be messy for the Lakers to truly recalibrate for the rest of his Los Angeles run.
Heading into Year 2, James is hoping general manager Rob Pelinka and the front office just ‘get it right’ while offering his opinions at certain times:
As he enters Year No. 2 of his four-year deal (fourth-year player option), all indications point to LeBron simply hoping that Pelinka & Co. get it right while offering his voice on matters in a measured manner. James, by all accounts, is sensitive to the perception that he attempts to run the show behind the scenes and, as such, has taken this tack.
While James and the Lakers could not have predicted all of the injuries, the roster construction was a concern at the beginning of the 2018-19 NBA season. Along with signing ‘tough-minded’ playmakers instead of shooters, integrating nine new players was already going to be a major challenge before the injuries.
With owner Jeanie Buss’ plan reportedly involving Pelinka running the front office, the hope is he takes advantage of an unexpected lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and $38 million in cap space for free agency.
As there are conflicting reports about Pelinka’s reputation around the league, he and the Lakers have an opportunity to significantly improve the roster.