The Los Angeles Lakers are a complete disaster right now. In all honesty, though, from day one of this first season with LeBron James, the team never really had a solid plan as to how it was going to compete, with the franchise putting together a makeshift roster around the three-time NBA champ, younger players incapable of developing around James and, well, everything surrounding the team having more drama than a nearby Hollywood movie. Such is life with LeBron, though.
With the Lakers currently out of the Western Conference playoff race with no quick fix in sight, some analysts are even suggesting the front office sits LeBron James for the rest of the season, giving him more time to recover from his injury earlier this year, while also giving his mind a rest from the constant burden of competing. That’s doubtful to happen, but, hey, nothing else is working for the Los Angeles Lakers, so why not just wave the white flag and look towards the future, right?
Given all that’s happened to the team in the past few months alone — which includes that whole Anthony Davis trade saga — there’s actually belief from the team that rival franchises are doing anything they can to create as much negativity about the Lakers as possible. Yep, that includes using the media to allegedly sabotage any of the team’s plans to acquire more talent around LeBron James this offseason.
That’s according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, who wrote about how other NBA teams are doing their best to create bad press around the Los Angeles Lakers in hopes that no other stars want to play alongside James. Take a look at what Amick wrote below, per Clutch Points.
“…The frustration on Jeanie’s front, quite clearly, was born out of the perceived disconnect between what was reported and what they claim actually happened in those pre-Feb. 7 trade deadline talks between Johnson and subsequently-fired Pelicans general manager Dell Demps. But the he-said-she-said game is impossible to unpack in public – politics and league rules keep people from speaking plainly, you know – and so this became a public relations situation that was inherently difficult.
Yet, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the real root of the comments was much more nuanced than it might have appeared. From Jeanie on down, there is a growing belief that rival teams like New Orleans have gone to great lengths to do the kind of subversive damage that is nearly impossible to prove. Johnson himself has said that he doesn’t believe the Pelicans negotiated in good faith, and it certainly was unique to see trade packages with remarkable specificity being reported throughout the process.”
This is, of course, is in relation to the aforementioned Anthony Davis trade details, where reports had the Los Angeles Lakers willing to give up pretty much everything to acquire the superstar forward. However, the team’s front office — and Magic Johnson specifically — argued that the New Orleans Pelicans didn’t act in good faith during those negotiations, which caused a bunch of internal problems and insecurity among some of the young Lakers’ players; which Kyle Kuzma admitted afterwards. Whether true or not, the fact of the matter is that the bad press helped derail the Lakers.
Now, does all this mean the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t going to be in the running for A-list free agents like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard, among others, this summer? Maybe. But it might have more to do with LeBron James’ tired act of basically doing anything he wants to, even if that means killing team resolve in the process. Or, really, because there’s no solid foundational plan for how the Lakers actually plan on competing in the next few years while James is still, seemingly, in his prime.
Bad press or not, the Lakers are as dysfunctional as ever right now, and no smart superstar wants to take part in that. But the franchise can complain all it wants to as an excuse.