An NBA champion blasted Los Angeles Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James on November 9.
ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson, who won the 2016 championship with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, said LeBron made the “biggest mistake” of his career by signing an extension with the Lakers. The Chosen One agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension in August that includes a player option for the 2024-25 season.
The Lakers are off to a terrible start this season. They are 2-9 and have the worst offensive rating in the NBA. James, who helped Los Angeles win the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat at the Walt Disney World bubble, showed a level of commitment to the purple and gold by signing a two-year extension when he didn’t have to.
Instead of making a blockbuster trade to improve the roster around James and Anthony Davis, general manager Rob Pelinka acquired Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz and signed Troy Brown Jr., Thomas Bryant, Damian Jones, Dennis Schroder, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Lonnie Walker IV in free agency. The Lakers have zero shooters around James and Davis, as they are last in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage.
James can’t be traded until February 18, 2023, which is after this year’s trade deadline. The earliest the four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP can be traded is in the summer of 2023.
LeBron Injured His Groin Against the Clippers
James suffered a left groin injury on November 9 against the Los Angeles Clippers and exited the game in the fourth quarter. He finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and three turnovers in 32 minutes of action while shooting 12-of-22 from the field, 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and 2-of-4 from the free-throw line.
“I didn’t do anything extraneous on the play,” James said of the sequence when he tweaked his groin while posting up Clippers All-Star forward Paul George. “Just when I landed, I felt a little spasm or strain in my groin. So immediately I had to come out after that on the next play down when I went to the free throw line.”
James missed the Lakers’ game on November 7 versus the Utah Jazz due to a left foot injury. The King said he’ll get around-the-clock treatment so that he can play on November 11 when Los Angeles takes on the Sacramento Kings.
LeBron Should Request a Trade Next Summer
James, who turns 38 in December, should request a trade next summer. Pelinka has done an awful job as GM and LBJ is wasting the last stage of his brilliant career playing for a dysfunctional franchise.
Pelinka had multiple opportunities to acquire shooters this past summer. The Lakers were close to getting Buddy Hield and Myles Turner from the Indiana Pacers. They also could have acquired Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley from the Utah Jazz. However, Pelinka didn’t want to part ways with his future draft picks.
All signs point toward the Lakers missing the playoffs once again this season. James will eventually pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, but that’s about the only positive thing that will happen for the Akron Hammer in 2022-23.