Despite the rumored tension between LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, it has been well-documented that the superstar wants to live in L.A. It is where James and his family have long resided during the NBA offseason even before he joined the Lakers and his oldest son Bronny James is heading towards his senior season at Sierra Canyon.
Could James use the Clippers as leverage to get the Lakers to be aggressive in making moves this summer? During a March 7 episode of “The Lowe Post” podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons discussed potential options for the Lakers to improve their roster. Lowe noted that James going to the Clippers would be a “hard no” from the Lakers star.
“I actually have floated this to some people who might know, would LeBron ever go to the Clippers?” Lowe pondered. “And the answer was, ‘hard no, hard no.'”
James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2022-23 season. The four-time NBA champion is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Lakers this offseason.
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LeBron’s Happiness ‘Matters a Great Deal’ to the Lakers: Report
The Lakers and James have tried to downplay any perceived rift in their relationship. Things reached a boiling point during James’ mini-media tour that took place on All-Star Weekend. James managed to leave the door open for a possible return to the Cavs, praised opposing general managers and admitted he is willing to depart the Lakers in the coming years to play with his son.
Despite being under contract for an additional season, the Lakers want to keep the team’s relationship with James on positive terms. The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Bill Oram reported that James’ satisfaction “matters a great deal” to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
“From Buss’ perspective, sources say her focus is on the macro elements of the partnership with James,” Amick and Oram explained on March 7. “His happiness matters a great deal, but so does his trust. Hence the reason you saw such staunch support from Paul in his post-meeting statement.”
LeBron on Rumors: ‘This Is the Franchise That I See Myself Being With’
After being criticized for his comments about his future, James tried to walk back the speculation. During a February 25 press conference, James emphasized that the Lakers are “the franchise that I see myself being with.”
“This is the franchise that I see myself being with,” James noted. “…I’m here, I’m here, I continue to tell you guys… I literally live in the moment. I do, I live in the moment and I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play. But I also have a goal that, if it’s possible, I don’t even know if it’s possible, but if I can play with my son, I would love to do that.”
James signing a contract extension this summer would go a long way towards quieting the rumors. For now, it is clear James has no desire to turn heel by joining the Lakers’ crosstown rival.