LeBron James is getting less and less subliminal with his pleas and demands to the Lakers front office.
A week and a half ago, LeBron offered a not-so-thinly-veiled quote after the team’s loss in Miami dropped them to 14-21 on the season as he made it known he wants to compete for titles at this point in his career. Since that quote, the Lakers have not dropped a single one of their five games despite losing Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV in that span and all while Anthony Davis watches from the sideline.
On Saturday night following perhaps the most enjoyable of the Lakers' wins in their current streak, LeBron stopped beating around the bush. In speaking with Sam Amick of The Athletic, LeBron was asked about whether the front office should make a trade.
Y’all know what the f— should be happening. I don’t need to talk.
The whole Q&A (paywalled) is worth a read for anyone with an Athletic subscription, but on Sunday afternoon, LeBron did offer some clarity to his stance and ensured his point was not that he was panicking or out of patience.
Upmost respect and calmness cause that’s the mood I’m in! Your welcome! 5 game winning streak.— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 8, 2023
LeBron has done plenty of talking with his play on the court to complement his words off of it. Saturday, LeBron poured in 37 points with eight rebounds and seven assists. It was his 10th 30-point game in his last 13 contests. In that span, he is averaging 33.9 points and over the season as a whole, it’s 29.1 per game.
He is holding up his end of the bargain.
On the flip side, the Lakers continue to wait to make a deal. If they didn’t react to the team’s slow start, it’s unclear if this recent strong stretch of play will sway them at all either. It should, though, as the Lakers are fighting tooth and nail and playing at a level that is getting them back in the playoff race, all while still sitting on their hands and not making a deal of any sort to improve a roster that is still mightily flawed even at it finds success.
But at this point, LeBron’s messages to the front office can’t get much more direct — even if he is being “calm” about it. Short of taking a microphone and outright telling vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka to trade the picks, which he’s already kind of done anyway, you’re not going to get more direct than these quotes.
LeBron is doing everything asked of him and more. So are the Lakers. It’s long been the front office's responsibility to put the best team on the court and they have not done what’s asked of them. The pressure was intense early in the year because losses piled up.
Now, it’s intense because the team looks to legitimately have talent. The latter scenario is only going to continue to amplify the pleas for a trade, from James and fans alike. Are the Lakers going to appease their leader on the court or continue playing this silly, pointless waiting game?