During his end-of-the-season press conference, LeBron James said he will be hands-off when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ offseason decision-making process.
Plenty of Lakers players from this season become free agents in the summer and Russell Westbrook has a player option for next year worth $47,063,478. Since LeBron came to the Lakers in the summer of 2018 as a free agent, vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka has referred to the King as a “stakeholder.”
“It’s not my decision to sit here and say, ‘Well, this is what we should bring back and have on the roster.’ That would be the front office’s decision,” LeBron said. “And obviously they may ask my input, but at the end of the day, they’ll make the decision they feel that best suits this franchise going forward.”
The Lakers went 33-49 this season. They were so bad that they didn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament. LeBron averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists, but his stellar play wasn’t enough to lead Los Angeles to consistent wins.
LeBron: ‘I Think the Front Office Will Do Whatever It Takes to Help This Ballclub Become a Better Ballclub’
The Lakers are expected to make major changes this summer after having a disastrous 2021-22 campaign. LeBron, who is eligible to sign an extension with the organization in August, has faith in Pelinka.
“I think the front office will do whatever it takes to help this ballclub become a better ballclub from top to bottom,” LeBron said. “Ask me my opinion, I’m going to give my opinion, but at the end of the day, they’re going to make the decision that they feel is best for the franchise.”
LeBron just finished his fourth season with the Lakers. He missed the playoffs in 2018-19, won the championship in 2019-20, lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2020-21 and missed the postseason altogether this campaign.
A four-time champion, four-time Finals MVP and four-time regular-season MVP, LeBron has nothing to prove anymore. However, the future Hall of Famer remains committed to winning more titles.
LeBron: ‘I Want to Win More’
LeBron wants to win more championships with the Lakers, who are tied with the Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history (17). The Akron Hammer is two rings and two Finals MVPs away from tying his childhood idol, Michael Jordan.
“I came here to win a championship and I want to win more. So I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I’m still hungry for more,” LeBron said. “I’m confident that this organization wants the same. That’s what this organization has always been about. … So I’ve done that. We’ve done that, but I want to do it again.”
It will be fascinating to see what moves the Lakers make this offseason. One thing is certain: Pelinka needs to get more shooting around LeBron and Anthony Davis. The Lakers shot 34.7% from beyond the arc as a team this season, ranking 22nd in the NBA.
LeBron will turn 38 next season, which will be his 20th in the league. Pelinka will undoubtedly be under significant pressure to improve the Lakers’ roster this summer, especially since LeBron can leave Los Angeles in 2023 if he doesn’t sign an extension this offseason.