Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James hosted an alternative stream to the Thursday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans labeled “TNF in The Shop.” During the game, he sent a not-so-subtle message to his team.
James’ comments come as the Los Angeles Lakers are 3-10 to start the season and are struggling to get enough shooting around their best player. It’s clear that James wants them to make a trade or two to give him some immediate help, but the Lakers are taking a much more methodical approach to improve the roster. In fact, they reportedly want to see their team at full strength before making a trade and that could take a while.
However, they could be out of playoff contention soon if they don’t act fast. After all, they are second-to-last in the Western Conference at the moment and need to finish at least 10th to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs via the play-in tournament. That would likely qualify as barely clearing the bar for James, however, and he didn’t leave a team that made the NBA Finals four straight seasons and won a championship in 2016 to just scrape by.
LeBron James’ comments are meant to motivate the Lakers.
James’s latest comments are undoubtedly an attempt to light a fire under his team, but since he’s only under contract through the end of next season, they have little incentive to move either or both of their remaining tradeable first-round picks. After all, James will probably have the Lakers long in his rearview mirror by the time those 2027 and 2029 draft picks come due.
Therefore, the Lakers are wise to hold off on trading even one of those assets until they find a deal to their liking–if they find a deal to their liking. There is also the possibility that the Lakers ride out the season, keep their remaining draft assets, and then try to retool in the offseason with their massive amount of cap space.
That won’t likely sit well with LeBron James, who likely agreed to sign an extension with the assurance that they’d build around him. Punting on this season surely isn’t what he had in mind, and his remarks obviously reflect that.