Lakers Called Out Over LeBron James Ahead of Trade Deadline: ‘Too Much’

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers were called out over LeBron James and responded.

“It’s just too much on Bron right now,” an anonymous player from a team who recently beat the Lakers said, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on January 17. “Everyone is just going to pack the paint and try to frustrate him because they need a lot. Speed. Playmaking. Shooting.”

But the Lakers have won their last two games, both coming against the No. 2 and No. 7 seeds in the Western Conference: the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks, respectively.

“I don’t play fantasy basketball,” James told reporters after beating the Mavs on January 17.

“What I do is focus on the guys that’s here in this uniform and show up to work every day. It’s just too disrespectful to be thinking about what we need or what we don’t have. I don’t do that to my teammates. And we’ve been putting in the work, and that’s what we got to continue to do.

“The way we’ve been playing the last couple games, we got to continue that Friday versus Brooklyn.”

James had 25 points with eight assists, eight rebounds, and one steal in the 127-110 victory.

And it would not have been the first time he put his thumb on the scale this season. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on January 9 that James and Anthony Davis cosigned D’Angelo Russell’s move to the bench.

There have also long been rumors of James’ involvement in the decisions his teams’ respective front offices have made over his 21 NBA seasons.

With the February trade deadline on February 8, the Lakers could make a shakeup.

But their roster construction could make a significant upgrade difficult to make. They don’t want to move either Rui Hachimura or Austin Reaves. And their third-most popular trade target is Russell, whose trade value has plummeted since the offseason.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis Sound Off on D’Angelo Russell After Lakers’ Win

Perhaps sparked by the move back into the starting lineup, Russell has scored at least 29 points in two of his last three outings.

“Takes pressure off me and AD (28 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists) and then our other guys because of his ability to get points in bunches,” James said. “He can run off you know three or four threes in four or five possessions just because of his ability to shoot the ball. So it’s key.”

Will Russell’s sure continue? And will it help boost his floundering trade value?

Lakers Passed on Kyrie Irving

The long-standing rumors about Kyrie Irving’s desire for a reunion got further credence with Shelburne’s report. Shelburne wrote that Irving had attended Lakers playoff games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets to send a “message”,

“According to sources close to him, Irving had a strong interest in reuniting with James,” Shelburne wrote. “Either in Los Angeles or Dallas.”

The Lakers debated adding Irving but opted to stay the course.

Irving is said to be happy now. And the Lakers may have found their mojo by returning to the opening-night starting lineup. If the latter can continue with that trend, they won’t be concerned with passing on Irving last offseason or moving on from Russell this season.