The Los Angeles Lakers are at a real crossroads not only in the current season, but for the foreseeable future of this franchise. The team as currently constructed around LeBron James and Anthony Davis is far from a championship contender and the fact that this year’s draft pick will likely be swapped with the New Orleans Pelicans only makes things worse.
With James in his 20th NBA season, there is likely very little time remaining for him to continue to produce at the level he has been. The Lakers’ front office is exploring potential moves to help fix some of the issues, but they have been hesitant to give up their 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks, the only selections they can trade right now, in making a deal that won’t make the team a championship contender.
But the front office is going to have to make a decision and it could have major effects on the franchise as, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, whatever decision is made could prompt players to ‘sour’ on the direction of the Lakers as a whole:
The organization is facing a critical decision in the James era, a decision that could prompt key players to sour on the direction of the franchise, league sources tell Bleacher Report. But there is still time for the Lakers to be active on the trade market as they prepare for a four-game homestand.
Haynes would add that LeBron and others core players, likely Anthony Davis, do not want to waste this season and would prefer the team use those available picks to elevate this year’s squad:
James, who turns 38 next month and is in Year 20 of his NBA career, does not want to waste a season of his high-level playing days in hopes of incoming reinforcements for the 2023-24 campaign, sources say. Other core players on the roster would likewise prefer those picks to be used to elevate this year’s team.
The mindset of James makes sense as he wants to compete for championships and this roster is obviously far away from that. But the franchise also understands the idea that there are only a handful of trades that could do that for the Lakers.
Dealing away both of those picks for players who would make the Lakers a play-in team wouldn’t accomplish the goal of LeBron or the franchise, and would also severely hamper their ability in future seasons to improve the roster. It is an unfortunate position to be in, but one in which the Lakers put themselves and now will have to figure out the best way to get out of it.
LeBron James day-to-day with adductor injury
The other question surrounding the Lakers superstar is whether or not he will be able to suit up moving forward. LeBron injured his groin in the team’s loss to the Clippers and was forced undergo testing in order to determine the severity of the injury.
It was revealed after practice on Thursday that James is day-to-day with a left adductor strain and will likely miss a couple of games.
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