Since the conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season, there has been a lot of drama surrounding LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
As James denied a report about his trust in the Lakers being ‘damaged,’ it is fair to wonder how he truly feels about them heading into free agency.
To his credit, James reportedly has already had contact with Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. However, it appears the second All-Star player the Lakers envision will either re-sign with their respective teams or sign elsewhere.
If the Lakers are unable to land a second All-Star player via free agency or trade, James could demand a trade for the 2019-20 NBA season, according to Bill Plaschke of Los Angeles Times (H/T: Dan Feldman of NBC Sports):
I’m hearing that if they whiff on free agency, and if they whiff on a trade – which I don’t know how likely that is, but if that happens, they’ve got big trouble with LeBron. Why would LeBron – I mean, the LeBron era could be over before it starts here.
Plaschke went into further detail about what this could mean with James:
I heard this for the first time yesterday. Somebody very connected said, “You know what, if they whiff, LeBron’s going to say either, ‘I’m out of here’ or ‘Get me out of here,’ or the Lakers better just might as well just get him out of here.”
Leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft and free agency, there will be plenty of reports. Amid former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s resignation, James reportedly ‘wants to be with’ and ‘win with’ the Lakers.
In addition, James and Dwyane Wade’s sons are reportedly expected to play together at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, CA this season.
While signing a second All-Star currently seems challenging, the Lakers do have enough assets for a potential trade. Along with the young core, Los Angeles somehow moved up seven spots and landed another unexpected asset with a top-four pick with just a 4.9% chance of doing so.
During a time when there is plenty of drama, owner Jeanie Buss and company are attempting to move past it. In the most important offseason in team history, it will be interesting to see if it truly impacts their ability to significantly improve the roster around James for the 2019-20 NBA season.