Stephen A Smith Provides Wild Revelation Regarding Lakers Priorities

Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Jeanie Buss, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a contract extension with LeBron James on August 17, ensuring the superstar forward will remain with the team for a further two seasons.

However, according to a report by ESPN’S Stephen A Smith on NBA Today, finding a way to ensure LeBron remains happy in Los Angeles has been Jeanie Buss’ number one priority for multiple months.

“She personally told me, months ago, her number one priority is for LeBron James to be happy. Because obviously, losing – winning just 33 games, being 16 games under .500 – he was walking around with a very truculent attitude, as he should be…Her number one priority was making sure to put a smile on his face, because she knows it’s entwined with winning, if he ain’t winning, he ain’t happy,” Smith said explained during his appearance on NBA Today.

LeBron, when healthy, was in excellent form last season, averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 62% from two and 35.9% from deep. If the Akron native can produce those kinds of numbers again next season, while also remaining healthy, he will be integral to the Lakers’ chances of success – so it’s no wonder the front office prioritized LeBron’s happiness heading into the off-season.

LeBron Still Wants to Play With Kyrie Irving

A major storyline during this off-season has been the Lakers’ pursuit of Kyrie Irving, with the team reportedly striking out in trade discussions with the Brooklyn Nets. Of course, any potential trade for Irving would have to see fellow star guard Russell Westbrook heading in the opposite direction – something that has been a sticking point due to the Lakers being unwilling to attach draft assets to the deal.

However, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, LeBron remains adamant that he wishes to reunite with his former teammate.

“Those around the team were confident that James signing an extension was likely, considering how much he’s enjoyed playing for the Lakers and living in Los Angeles. The primary complication in James’ decision was that he has been privately adamant that the Lakers still need to improve the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources have told The Athletic,” Buha wrote on August 18.

Of course, if the front office’s plan is to ensure LeBron remains content in Los Angeles, we should expect to see some movement in the trade market in the coming days or weeks.

Adding Depth Could be More Important Than a Star

While the notion of adding a new star to the rotation is exciting, it might also be a mistake. Last season’s struggles were clearly exacerbated by the Lakers’ star players struggling to stay healthy – but in truth, had the team had better depth, it could have navigated those injuries far easier.

As such, it would make sense if the Lakers began looking around the league for potential trades to add depth to their rotation – even if it comes at the expense of adding Irving this summer – after all, he will be an unrestricted free agent next season if they truly covet bringing him to Lakerland.

Nevertheless, if Westbrook is included in a deal, either to add depth or to bring in an additional star, the Lakers will need to find a new point guard. The Lakers’ front office has a lot of decisions to make before training camp gets underway, but, they should rest easy knowing their star player has committed his short-term future to the franchise.

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