LeBron James Is ‘Not’ a Fan of 1 of His Lakers Teammates: Report

Lakers star LeBron James

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is “not” a fan of D’Angelo Russell, according to Heavy Sports senior insider Sean Deveney.

“I hate to say one playoff series can change a franchise’s whole outlook on a guy because that just does not happen, but it is happening with some of the people in that building, maybe most significantly, with LeBron,” one Western Conference executive told Deveney. “Is this a guy they want to invest in? Does LeBron want him back — there is talk that he is not Russell’s biggest fan.”

Russell becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, so the Lakers have a big decision to make with him. The one-time All-Star played poorly in the Western Conference Finals loss to the Denver Nuggets, averaging 6.3 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 32.3% from the field and 13.3% from beyond the arc.

The lefty was benched in Game 4 for Dennis Schröder.

The Lakers acquired Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the February trade deadline and the Ohio State product played well in his 17 games with Los Angeles, averaging 17.4 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 41.4% from 3.

D’Lo also put up good numbers in the first two rounds of the playoffs versus the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors. The Louisville native averaged 15.7 points and 5.0 assists and scored 31 points in Game 6 against the Grizzlies.

However, Russell was so bad against the Nuggets that many people around the NBA believe the Lakers shouldn’t re-sign him.

D’Angelo Russell & a Future 1st-Round Pick to the Mavericks for Kyrie Irving?

In a May 18 column titled “Lakers’ Hypothetical Blockbuster Trades to Shake Up NBA Offseason,” Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report proposed that the Lakers trade Russell and a future first-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks for Kyrie Irving this offseason.

It would be a double sign-and-trade since Russell and Irving both become unrestricted free agents this summer.

“Kyrie Irving is a natural target for the Lakers even though The Athletic’s Tim Cato reported they’re ‘uninterested’ in pursuing him this offseason,” Buckley wrote. “The Lakers valued Irving enough to offer two future first-round picks (the most they could trade) to the Brooklyn Nets before the mercurial guard was sent to the Mavericks. When Irving went elsewhere, James didn’t hide his disappointment. That surprised absolutely no one, since the pair previously led a championship run together on the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“It’s hard to imagine L.A. is fully out on Irving now. There are nights when this offense just can’t get out of the mud. Catch one of those, and it’s easy to see how much of an impact Irving could make with his shooting, efficient scoring and shot-creation. The Lakers would need to jump through a few financial hoops to make this happen, since teams above the first salary-cap apron can’t receive players via sign-and-trade. That’s fine. If it means losing out on a player like Rui Hachimura, that’s a sacrifice L.A. could be willing to make to get a player of Irving’s caliber.”

James wanted the Lakers to trade for Irving at the trade deadline, sources told Heavy Sports.

LeBron James Could Retire This Summer

James could retire from the NBA this summer, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report.

The four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP, who is 38 years old, has a torn tendon in his right foot.

“I’m simply not sure if I’ll be back in the fall when the season begins,” James told Haynes after the Lakers lost Game 4 to the Nuggets. “I have a lot to think about.”

James signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers last summer. The 19-time All-Star has a player option for the 2024-25 season.