James, who has a history of making cryptic comments, raised eyebrows after praising Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead after the Rams won the Super Bowl and again after praising Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti in response to a seemingly innocuous question about one of his players at an All-Star Weekend news conference. There was speculation that his comments were actually critiques of the Lakers’ front office.
After telling The Athletic he hadn’t ruled out a return to Cleveland, James’s relationship with the Lakers was the subject of intense conjecture.
From here on out, we can see that this is not the case. Following the All-Star Game, James claimed that people were reading too much into what he had said. They were “simply noise,” as Vogel put it.
Multiple persons with knowledge of the meeting say that Rich Paul, James’s agent, met with Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president for basketball operations, and Jeanie Buss, the team’s governor and chief executive, to reassure them that James was dedicated to being a Laker.
Paul has developed a strong relationship with Pelinka and Buss as the agent for two of the most valuable players on the current Laker roster: LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Last week’s chat helped to ease tensions caused by the disappointment of the season.
The Lakers and their star player have put forward a united front in the past week. However, the action on the court was not affected by the conference.
Davis has been Sidelined since February 16 Due to a Foot Sprain.
He has missed 24 games so far this season. Counting those he’s missed, James now has 17. James, Davis, and Westbrook last appeared in a game together on January 25 at Brooklyn.
We had the parts, but injuries prevented us from putting them together, Davis said. For our season, that made all the difference.
It is unknown if James, Davis, and Westbrook will re-up with the Lakers for another playoff push next season. Davis and James both have deals in place, and Westbrook is probably going to pick up his $47 million player option.
That’s the plan, but I can’t promise anything,” Westbrook, who got the brunt of the criticism, said. “You have to play the cards you’re dealt and take things one day at a time.”
Up until about a month ago, it appeared that the Lakers would have time to reorganise, get healthy, and make a deep playoff run this season. James’s scoring output made him look ten years younger than he actually is; he averaged 30.3, his highest point total since 2008.
If the club stayed healthy for the whole 82 games, Davis added, “I think the world would want to see, and we would love to see what this team possibly could be.”
Westbrook gave it his all on Tuesday, pushing through the Suns’ defence time and again in an effort to produce an outcome. A couple huge baskets were made, but so were several equally huge turnovers. It was a familiar incoherence, unfortunately.
Frank Vogel, the Lakers’ coach, expressed his “great disappointment” that the team would not be advancing to the playoffs. The Lakers have dropped seven in a row and have three more games to play before the playoffs begin.
In 2020, when playoff games were held in the Florida bubble, Vogel led the Lakers to a championship. His future in the company is precarious at best.
A lack of effort was not the reason, the coach claimed. We have all done our part. Our men did not give up until the very last second. We added honesty to the procedure. A fractured season ultimately cost us, as we came up short.