Even before Magic Johnson let it be known that the Los Angeles Lakers were run either by backstabbers or incompetence, it wasn’t all that hard to come by whispers of LeBron James’ “camp” being nervous about the situation creating possible issues for free agency.
When Dave McMenamin of ESPN first reported a full month ago (and to be fair, walked back the reporting aspect of what he said) that there was a growing distrust between James’ camp and the Lakers, most everyone who has been paying attention shrugged their shoulders. “Duh,” was a common response.
Now, again, McMenamin said back then that was analysis on his part after James hopped on Instagram to refute the report, but the idea that James would be absolutely hunky dory with how things have gone has always been pretty ridiculous.
James turns 35 in December. He’s coming an injury that kept him out of more consecutive games than he’d missed in any season previously. The guy he most wanted to work with in the Lakers organization just peaced out without warning, and cited the aforementioned backstabbing and ineptitude a month after the fact on a nationally televised morning talkshow hours before the team would announce its new head coach. A coach, mind you, that James didn’t have as his first choice.
Here’s some professional analysis: Um, duh.
We’ve since gotten another report (or the first, if you bought McMenamin’s walking back of his initial report) about growing concern from James’ camp, so this is a legitimate thing now — as it’s likely always been.
Maybe this is James’ way of firing a shot across the bow to wake the Lakers up from this current state of melodrama. Perhaps this is him earning himself some plausible deniability should things not work out this offseason. Whatever the angle might be, we can’t treat this as speculation any longer. No one in James’ camp leaks this without his permission.... twice.
Today’s “Locked on Lakers” focuses on all that, and then also has some fun with that ridiculous-but-also-potentially-somehow-true report about Johnson being cc’ed on emails dragging him, and then claiming he didn’t know if that report was true.
You can listen to the entire episode below, and make sure to subscribe on iTunes, where you can also leave questions in the form of a five-star review to guarantee your topic makes the show.