LeBron James calls out to the Lakers over not wanting to make the trade: ‘You all know what has to happen’

Looks like LeBron James has had enough. After his performance of 37 points, 8 rebounds, and seven assists in the Los Angeles Lakers136-134 victory over Sacramento Kingswhich extended their winning streak to a season-high five games, James spoke with Athletic about the lack of action on the business front and making himself crystal clear.

“You know what has to happen,” said James. “You don’t need to talk.”

What James is referring to is the Lakers trading one or both of their remaining future first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 to get some help. However, the front office was reluctant to send any of the assets away for fear of mortgaging the future to an average team.

James has previously made off-the-cuff comments via the media in an attempt to put pressure on the front office.

During a special episode of “The Store” in November, James lamented the lack of talent around Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, another aging star. “When you have a franchise player as transcendent as Aaron Rodgers … why not surround him, when you have the picks, to maximize what he can do?” James said.

In late December, after a five-game losing streak, he wondered how long he could keep playing in such a situation. “I’m a winner and I want to win. I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships,” said James. “Playing basketball at that level just because I play basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore. We’ll see what happens and see how my brain stays fresh for the next couple of years.”

With the Lakers now enjoying their best impressive stretch of the season (one with the sidelining of Anthony Davis), he’s taken a more direct approach. And his comments late Saturday made it clear that he’s not a fan of the front office approach. The last phrase, quoted at the top of the post, was just one part of a longer conversation that read in part:

The Athlete: To see you and the team play so well, especially with AD out, made me wonder what conversations with (Head of Basketball Operations) Rob (Pelinka) and (Owner) Jeanie (Buss) are like these days in terms of roster. What is the nature of your message? What is such communication?

James: “Listen man, I’m playing the game. I’m worried about who’s in the locker room. I can’t — it’s not my job… It’s not my job. I can’t do anyone else’s job.”

The Athlete: But LeBron, she’s 38 years old, and she’s doing things that haven’t been done before.

James: “I know.”

Al-Riyadi: And the idea that the team will keep some options and wait for next year…

James: “Well, if you know, then you know. You know. You don’t need to talk about it. You know.”

Sportsman: But how is your patience level? Does this aspect (of this situation) attract you?

James: “They do what they think is best for the franchise.”

Athlete: How do you feel about that?

James: “I’m doing what’s best for my mates in the dressing room. That’s all I can worry about.”

James later took to Twitter to try to get his point across and do some damage control. “Hey, Sam [Amick, The Athletic writer who did the original interview] Indeed my patience is undiminished,” James wrote. “You make it sound like I’m down when I really am not. I’ve told you over and over, my job is to focus on the guys in the locker room, my job is not to roster. That’s the truth of that conversation and I said what I said with the utmost respect and calm because that’s my mood!” [You’re] welcome! 5 consecutive matches.

The Lakers will always be involved in trade rumours, but the topic has been busier and more complex than ever over the past year. Russell Westbrook’s dilemma appears to have been solved by his improved play off the bench once he accepted the role, but nothing else.

Still operating at an elite level as he enters the final years of his legendary career, James wants the organization to do everything possible to compete in the here and now. There are some problems with that. One, James’ insistence that the Lakers trade to Westbrook in the first place removed most of the remaining flexibility they had. All that’s left now in terms of interesting assets are first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029, which likely won’t come until James retires and could end up being quite valuable.

Plus, the team isn’t that great and Anthony Davis has yet to prove he can stay grounded. Even with this five win streak, the Lakers are only 19-21 and out of the playing area as we approach the halfway point of the season. What player or players are available that will make a tangible difference to the Lakers’ championship hopes?

Up to this point, the Lakers front office hasn’t blinked, but will they maintain that resolve in the face of mounting public pressure from James? The next month until the February 9th trading deadline is going to be great.

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