LeBron James must have certainly hoped for a better start to the 2022-23 season after the Los Angeles Lakers went through the first month of games with a 3-10 record.
James reportedly sought assurances from L.A.’s front office that the team would be competitive in the near future. Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka is understood to have promised the four-time NBA champion he would be able to compete for the championship for as long as he dons purple and gold.
But the first weeks of the 2022-23 season have been a reality check for James and the Lakers. They head to Friday’s matchup with the Detroit Pistons owning the third-worst record in the NBA and the league’s toothless offense despite having two former MVPs and eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis on the roster.
James has never shied away from making his feelings known whenever he didn’t like the direction in which his teams were going in the past — L.A. memorably experienced that last season during the All-Star Weekend. And, inadvertently or not, the 37-year-old superstar seems to have expressed his discontent with the Lakers’ current competitiveness, or lack thereof on Amazon Prime’s alternate stream for “Thursday Night Football” that featured “The Shop” crew, via @gifdsports:
LeBron “If you have a transcendent franchise player like Aaron Rodgers why won’t you surround that when you got the picks to maximize what you do”
Paul Rivera “Are we still talking football or are we talking basketball” pic.twitter.com/SoxIEvKTAp
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 18, 2022
The Green Bay Packers fell 27-17 to the Tennessee Titans at Lambeau Field, likely ending the host’s playoff hopes. As the Packers cruised to their seventh defeat of the season, James offered his take on Green Bay’s struggles in likely one of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ last NFL campaigns.
“I feel like it’s a discredit when you got a transcendent franchise player, like Aaron, a quarterback,” James said. “Obviously we know the quarterback position – besides a monster defensive end or D-tackle obviously, like Aaron Donald – that’s the most important position in the NFL.
“Why won’t you surround that, when you got the picks, to maximize what you can do?”
James’ question inevitably stirred up controversy considering the Lakers are enduring another disappointing season after countless reports claimed they have refused to part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to trade Russell Westbrook for roster reinforcements.
Even “The Shop” host Paul Rivera couldn’t resist asking James about the parallels between his view of the Packers’ situation and what the 18-time All-Star is going through with the Purple and Gold this season.
“Are we still talking football or are we talking basketball?” Rivera asked.
“Football,” James replied while palming his fist. The forward then stated he wasn’t talking about himself, although adding that “it definitely translates.”
Patrick Beverley praises James’ leadership
James seems determined to put the Lakers back on the right track after a nightmare start to the season. Patrick Beverley has said the superstar forward stepped up as the Lakers’ leader ahead of Sunday’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets, inspiring his teammates to do everything in their powers to get L.A.’s third win of the year.
“Got to give a lot of credit to LeBron, he started to get on guys the right way, and guys in the locker room responded,” Beverley said. “So credit his leadership, obviously the things that you guys don’t see in the locker room, but he was a big voice in practice yesterday, and that kind of led over to our energy and game plan and focus for this game today.”
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