There is no indication that LeBron James wants to leave the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Windhorst said on his “Hoop Collective” podcast that James may be ramping up the pressure on the Lakers front office to make a move, but that doesn’t mean he’s looking to leave Los Angeles.
“His contract extension that he did last year. … That was the actions of somebody who has no intention of leaving the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “So, really, his weapon is to make the Lakers uncomfortable. It’s not a threat he’s going to walk on them. I think the Lakers are fully aware of that.”
James, who turned 38 in December, signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers in August. The four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP was ineligible for a no-trade clause since he agreed to an extension. James’ extension includes a player option for the 2024-25 season. The Akron Hammer is ineligible to be traded this season because the second year of his extension exceeds a 5% raise.
The Lakers are 19-21 on the season. James is averaging 29.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.7 assists while shooting 51.0% from the field, 29.5% from beyond the arc and 75.6% from the free-throw line.
LeBron James Had an Explosive Interview With The Athletic
After the Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings on January 7, James had an explosive interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic. The future Hall of Famer talked with Amick while he walked to the team bus.
Amick: To see you and the team playing this well, especially with AD out, has me wondering what the conversations with (president of basketball operations) Rob (Pelinka) and (owner) Jeanie (Buss) are like these days in terms of the roster. What’s the nature of your message? What is that communication like?
James: Man listen, I play the game. I worry about who’s in the locker room. I can’t — it’s not my … it’s not my job. I can’t do nobody else’s job.
Amick: And the idea that a team would hold on to some picks and wait for next year …
James: Well if you guys know, then you guys know. You guys know. I don’t need to talk about it. You guys know.
Amick: But if you stay quiet, then time is gonna keep marching on, no?
James: Listen, you guys know. It’s not rocket science. It’s not rocket science.
Amick: But is that conversation (with ownership and management) evolving?
James: I’m working. I don’t have time. We’re playing every other day, three (out of) four nights. I don’t have time to be…
Amick: But how’s your patience level? Is that aspect (of this situation) tugging at you?
James: They’re doing what they feel is best for the franchise.
Amick: How do you feel about that?
James: I’m doing what’s best for my guys in the locker room. That’s all I can worry about. I’ll let y’all. … Y’all know what the f— should be happening. I don’t need to talk.
The interview was so fierce that James took to Twitter the next day to clarify his comments. He also wanted everyone to know that the Lakers have won five games in a row.
Family & Location Are the 2 Reasons LeBron James Won’t Demand a Trade from the Lakers
Marc Stein of Substack reported on December 30 that James doesn’t want to leave the Lakers due to family reasons and location. Both of James’ sons, Bronny and Bryce, play basketball at Sierra Canyon School. James’ wife and daughter also enjoy living in Los Angeles.
“Family reasons and LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION, as we’ve noted here many times, were the true driving forces that prompted LeBron James to leave Cleveland for Hollywood in the summer of 2018,” Stein wrote. “Those are believed to be the same forces that would keep him from urging the Lakers to ship him somewhere that he has an actual chance at ring No. 5. His oldest son Bronny is a high school senior. Another son, Bryce, is a high school sophomore. They’re budding prospects thriving in Southern California. James presumably doesn’t want to uproot them.”