LeBron James knows that the situation with the Los Angeles Lakers is as dysfunctional as it gets. After going through his first season with the team and missing the playoffs for the first time since he was a second-year player in the league, some executives think that the four-time league MVP is growing frustrated with how things are going in the front office.
First we saw Magic Johnson up and leave prior to the final regular season game, which frustrated James. Then we saw the Lakers fire head coach Luke Walton. Next we hear rumblings about how the team wanted to hire Tyronn Lue to replace Walton, but things ended with Lue, reportedly, hanging up on them. With no sense of direction, LeBron James has to feel a little worried about what might happen this summer when the Lakers are hoping to sign another superstar to pair up next to him.
On that topic, James apparently is starting to take matters into his own hands, because he’s already in full-on recruiting mode. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, appearing on ESPN Radio L.A. with Jorge Sedano, James made a trip to Philadelphia during the Sixers-Raptors series to meet with Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, with the main objective being a pitch to join the Lakers this summer in free-agency.
If true, that’s some serious tampering, I’d imagine. But, hey, there’s no proof that LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard met, and, even if they did, there’s no way in hell the league could do anything about it since it could just be one of those dinners between friends — although we all know it was to talk business.
In a separate piece from Bleacher Report today, some executives and agents wonder if LeBron is starting to feel the weight of dysfunction with the Lakers, as a few offered up opinions on what might be going through James’ head right now.
“They’re still the Lakers by name,” a prominent agent told Bleacher Report. “But the infrastructure, the assets, the front office, those are big questions. What’s the plan? Who’s really in charge?”
Echoing that sentiment, another source said this when speaking on the current state of the Lakers in relation to LeBron.
“I think what LeBron is learning is how important a strong, stable front office is to his success,” said one of the people familiar with James’ relationship with Lue during their time in Cleveland. “For the Lakers not to close this deal, they must have put something on the table that Lue wasn’t comfortable with. What was that? If that’s the case, they don’t know what they’re doing.”
It’s clear the Lakers have no real direction right now, and, if LeBron James really is starting to get restless and make secret visits to top free agents this summer to sell them on the team — even with no blueprint — that’s not a good sign for the iconic franchise.