It appears that the Lakers and LeBron James may not be on the identical web page about the way forward for the staff.
On Tuesday, an interview with the staff’s proprietor, Jeanie Buss, made it clear that she’s dedicated to a long-term future with James. Meanwhile, in a separate interview James stated that he’s watching different groups’ future first-round picks.
While discussing James re-signing with the Lakers on a two-year $97.1 million contract extension, Buss told The Athletic that “it’s a priority to the Laker brand that he retire a Laker.”
But James, a four-time NBA champion who led the Lakers to a title within the 2020 NBA bubble season, told Sports Illustrated that he’s “paying attention” to future first-round picks to presumably play along with his sons in the event that they resolve to pursue their very own NBA careers.
“I’d definitely be looking at who got first-round picks in 2024, 2025, things of that nature; 2026, ’27,” James stated. “I pay attention to that type of stuff.”
James — who has a participant possibility for 2024-25 — left the door open when requested if there’s a likelihood he may stick round to play along with his youngest son, Bryce, who’s 15.
“I feel like I could play for quite a while,” he stated. “So it’s all up to my body, but more importantly, my mind. If my mind can stay sharp and fresh and motivated, then the sky’s not even a limit for me. I can go beyond that. But we shall see.”
James has made it identified that he needs to play along with his oldest son, Bronny, who’s getting into his senior year at Sierra Canyon High School and is a prime prospect for the category of 2023.
But that is believed to be the primary time he has talked about the potential of holding out his enjoying career till his youngest son is draft-eligible.
As for Buss, she stated she is staying “cautiously optimistic” about James re-signing with the Lakers.
“LeBron is a very passionate person, and he wants to be put in a position where he can succeed,” she stated. “And it’s as much as folks like me and [GM] Rob [Pelinka] and our entrance office to place him in these sorts of positions.
“He felt that what he heard [in an emergency meeting in February following rumblings of a Cleveland reunion] was what he wished to listen to and made him really feel assured going ahead and I couldn’t be extra completely satisfied that he sees that we wish to win simply as a lot as he does and that there’s a variety of nice issues which are going to occur whereas he’s a Laker. …Whatever our non-public conversations are, he confirmed his religion in us by signing that extension.
Buss added that “changes needed to be made” after final season, when the 33-49 Lakers did not make the playoffs, which she known as a “huge disappointment.”
The staff’s present plans embrace its current acquisition of standout defender Patrick Beverley, whom the Lakers traded for final week. But that transfer additionally stirred up questions about the place level guard Russell Westbrook would match throughout the roster — a separate report by The Athletic stated that Beverley’s arrival is indicative that Westbrook can be off the energetic roster.
“Pat Beverley was brought here to play defense, to be that guy that knows how to push his teammates, [who] sets an example with how he approaches his job,” Buss stated. “The day of the commerce, he was already right here after work hours understanding. I obtained an opportunity to say howdy to him as I used to be leaving for the day. He simply brings that work ethic that we worth, that coach [Darvin] Ham values and goes to be a pacesetter within the locker room.
“So it has nothing to do with Russ. And like I said, I think that people, they love to pull up storylines and create something and that just isn’t the case.”
Buss additionally stated it’s about “managing personalities” throughout the Lakers roster.
“And coach Ham is prepared and fearless when it comes to stuff like that.”