It sure didn’t take LeBron James long to speak his mind.
About 24 hours removed from the Lakers missing out on Kyrie Irving for the second — and perhaps final — time, LeBron James voiced his thoughts publicly and not just through cryptic tweets. LeBron sat down with Michael Wilbon of ESPN for an interview in which he was pretty clear about his thoughts on not landing Irving.
"Definitely disappointing... We had an opportunity, it didn't happen... we finish this season strong & try to get a bid into the postseason where I feel, when healthy, we can compete with anybody."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) February 6, 2023
LeBron James on the Lakers not getting Kyrie Irvingpic.twitter.com/f79FOQwrlr
Even if it was very forthcoming, it was also a pretty predictable response from James. He had made it pretty clear that he wanted Kyrie and viewed him as the player that could take the team over the top.
This situation isn’t one where the Lakers didn’t put together a reasonable offer for Kyrie, either. The team reportedly offered both first round picks in 2027 and 2029 along with Russell Westbrook for Irving, only to be asked by Brooklyn for more pick swaps as well as Austin Reaves and Max Christie.
The team drew a line in the sand — again, at a reasonable spot — and refused to include that and Brooklyn thusly went elsewhere to land their desired package. It certainly seemed like, from afar, the Lakers were asked for more in return for Irving than other teams, which is frustrating whether you’re a fan or you’re LeBron James.
That being said, LeBron has made a couple of different public statements, both directly and indirectly, about the current roster and the number of losses the Lakers have racked up this season and last.
It’s also a potentially awkward dynamic moving forward with Russell Westbrook. LeBron just sat down and told everyone how much he was disappointed to not be able to play with a different point guard. Will it further sour the relationship between the two? Probably not. But it doesn’t help things!
It might not really matter as the Lakers are reportedly shopping Westbrook once again this week before Thursday’s deadline and he may not be around for more than a couple more days. But clearly this was something LeBron wanted and it’s hard to imagine that not impacting Russ at all.
In total, it’s a mess of a situation that didn’t have LeBron’s desired ending. Whether the team will be able to bounce back and deliver this week before the deadline will be the challenge now.
For all the latest heading into the NBA trade deadline, check out our Silver Screen and Roll Lakers trade rumors tracker. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.