LeBron James does not appear too impressed by the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest trade swapping Kendrick Nunn for forward Rui Hachimura. There was no welcome message on social media as we have sometimes seen from the superstar after past Lakers moves. James appeared to downplay the deal when asked about the acquisition of Hachimura following the team’s January 24, 2023 loss to the rival Clippers.
“Looking forward to it,” James said in a short response during a January 25 press conference. “You know, the game is played in between the four lines, and we’ll see what happens once we can get him acclimated and on the floor.”
To be fair to Hachimura, the Lakers had just lost their 10th straight game to the Clippers, and James was not exactly giving extensive responses to any question. James declined to respond to general manager Rob Pelinka’s comments about the upcoming trade deadline, emphasizing that his focus is on playing, not the front office.
“How does it sit with you?” James said turning the question back to the reporter. “He said it to you guys. Alright, he was talking to you. He wasn’t talking to us. Rob’s gonna do his job, that’s his job. My job is to be on the floor and make sure my guys in the locker room is ready to go.”
Rob Pelinka on Possible Trades: ‘I Think the Calculus Is to Win a Championship or Not’
Hachimura made his Lakers debut during the team’s win over the Spurs on January 25. The newest Laker posted 12 points and six rebounds in his first game wearing purple and gold. Pelinka left the door open for making additional moves prior to the February 9 trade deadline but noted that the potential deals will be evaluated based on whether it increases the Lakers’ chances of winning a championship.
“Yeah, I think the calculus for the Lakers is to win a championship or not,” Pelinka noted during a January 25 press conference. “There’s no in between or incremental growth. So, as we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens.
“And I said this at the beginning of the season, if there’s an opportunity to get all the way to the end and win a championship, there’s no resource we’ll hold on to if we feel like that’s there. But at the same time, the completely unwise thing to do would be to shoot a bullet early and then not have it later when you have a better championship move you could make.”
Lakers Are Interested in Trading for Raptors Guard Fred VanVleet: Report
To make a significant move, the Lakers may need to part with one or both of their available future draft picks (2027, 2029) in order to pull off a deal. The reasonable assumption is that James wants the Lakers to trade these future picks to win now, but Los Angeles been unwilling to do so thus far. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus labeled Mike Conley, Eric Gordon and Fred VanVleet among the possible trade targets for the Lakers.
“Either the Raptors and VanVleet will extend their marriage, or the team will look to get value for him in a trade before the deadline,” Pincus wrote on January 25. “If it’s the latter, several playoff contenders (at least teams that consider themselves playoff contenders) would have interest, such as the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. So, too, would the Orlando Magic, per multiple NBA sources.”