The Los Angeles Lakers opted not to make a trade at the deadline, and it remains to be seen whether this decision will pay off this season. After the Lakers’ two-point loss to the Warriors on February 12, LeBron James was asked why the team looked more connected than they have in recent weeks. James pointed to the NBA trade deadline passing as to one reason why the team feels more together.
“I think that the trade deadline is over,” James reflected during his postgame press conference. “So, a lot of people got an opportunity just to move on and know this is what we have. …We’re going to be together and now we make a push.”
Despite Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s insistence that James and Anthony Davis were consulted on the team’s non-moves, there continues to be speculation that both stars were pushing for a deadline deal. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that a source close to James and Davis described Pelinka’s idea of “alignment” with the two stars as “totally false.” McMenamin added that James and Davis were not consulted by Pelinka prior to the deadline.
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A.D. on Trade Rumors: ‘As a Player, It Can Weigh on You’
While Davis and James both discussed the NBA trade deadline passing, neither player went into details about their rumored hopes for a potential Lakers move. Prior to the deadline, James’ cryptic comments about a “fog” being over the team prompted speculation that a Lakers trade was inevitable. Like James, Davis sounded optimistic that the lack of a deal could lead to better play to close out the season.
“You know, when you, and I never really been in it [trade rumors] unless in New Orleans when I asked for it [requested to be traded by the Pelicans], but we had a little bit last year as well,” Davis noted during a February 12 press conference. “Anytime your name is mentioned in trades, as a player it can weigh on you. You know, possibly moving to another city, you start thinking, ‘Well, the team really doesn’t want me.’ Things like that and when that time had passed, this is who we have, the 15 guys in that locker room and kind of just take weight off of everyone’s shoulders. ‘Okay, alright, this is what we got. Let’s go.’
“…We never talk about it, so you don’t know what guys are actually going through. What’s on their mind through that process, so that’s just my personal opinion. But I think when that time had passed, we had practice and we realized this is our team. Nothing’s gonna happen, let’s do it and guys have a little more swag today, a little more confidence, more energy. Played [with] more of a purpose, and if we continue to play like this for the rest of the season, then I think we put ourselves in a good position to be successful.”
LeBron on Players Dealing With the Trade Rumors: ‘It’s Human Nature to Think About It’
When asked if there was any sort of post-deadline team meeting, James emphasized that it was not needed. The Lakers star noted that every player is well aware of the significance of the trade deadline.
“We’re all grown men, you don’t need to come together and talk about it you just, you know,” James explained. “I mean, it affects people in different ways, the deadline, and it’s human nature. You hear your name talked about throughout trades and things of that nature.
“So, it’s human nature to think about it and either worry about it or just have it grasp your mind from time to time. So, there’s no need to talk about it. We had a great practice yesterday, and it resulted in the way we played today [vs. Warriors February 12].”