If it’s felt eerily quiet around LeBron James considering the Lakers record and standings in the Western Conference, then Wednesday’s post-game presser probably should have offered few surprises.
Following the Lakers fifth loss in six games to drop them seven games under .500, LeBron sounded off. It came across a series of questions that felt like missiles launched directly at the front office.
"I'm a winner and I want to win. And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion... Playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It's not in my DNA anymore."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 29, 2022
- LeBron James pic.twitter.com/Oq01mbborx
I also asked LeBron if he thinks about his career big-picture with his 38th birthday approaching on Friday, or if he has narrowed his focus. LeBron answered this way (emphasis is mine): pic.twitter.com/BiD0DXroEp— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 29, 2022
There is no subtweets here or reading between the lines needed. This is a very direct shot across the bow from LeBron to his front office. For the most part this season with a few exceptions, LeBron has sat back and let things play out for the Lakers.
But in the wake of Anthony Davis’ injury, the Lakers have taken a pretty significant step back. After winning the game he suffered his injury in and the following one to move to three games under .500, the Lakers lost four straight games. After snapping the streak on Tuesday in Orlando, the purple and gold fell in Miami despite a strong performance from LeBron.
The frustrations likely stem from the fact that the Lakers have had a severely flawed roster for at 35 games this season and have done nothing to address it. The early 20-game deadline came and went. Thanksgiving did as well. So did the Dec. 15 date when most of the league could then be traded.
Instead, the Lakers have stood pat, trotting out a roster that hardly resembles a modern one with its complete lack of wings and shooting. The flaws have been apparent to everyone and it’s clear this team can’t compete on a nightly basis.
Also, consider what Jeanie Buss said about LeBron back in May when she spoke to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times.
“I want him to feel confident in the team, that we have the pieces to win a championship,” Buss said. “He has to be happy. … I want to make sure that he’s happy.”
The Lakers have continued kicking the can down the road this season with minimal interruption aside from fan frustrations. Now, though, LeBron has spoken up and put all the focus on the front office. There is no ignoring this one, and now we’ll truly see if the Lakers are interested in winning basketball games this season.