LeBron James recorded another magnificent performance last night, one in the string of many over the last month as The King has cranked things up to 11 with Anthony Davis sidelined by another injury. LeBron had 37 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in a narrow victory over the Sacramento Kings. The Los Angeles Lakers are winners of five straight almost entirely due to LeBron, who has compensated for not only the absence of Davis but the absences of key contributors like Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV on top of it all.
However, LeBron is clearly getting impatient and frustrated with his team's front office. All signs point to the Lakers being fine with punting on this season and reloading with the cap space that will free up this offseason. They don't want to trade their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to try to salvage this season. Once AD got hurt, everyone assumed it was curtains for the purple and gold. LeBron disagreed and is showing why on the court. Over the weekend, he took to the media to express his displeasure with the fact that another season of his greatness is being wasted.
On Friday, LeBron sat down with ESPN to discuss his pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's scoring record and slipped in a quote about how all the losing isn't sitting well with him.
"I want to win. [The losing is] not sitting well with me," James said. "I don't like having accomplishments, and it don't feel right, when it comes in a losing effort. ... So as we sit here right now as a franchise and as a team that's below .500 -- we've been playing some good basketball as of late, but we want to and I want to win at the highest level. Breaking records or setting records or passing greats in a losing effort has never been a DNA of mine."
He cranked up the heat on Saturday night, giving a few quotes to The Athletic that were pretty straightforward even if he didn't say exactly what he was thinking. Below you'll find the Q&A between LeBron and Sam Amick; the bolded sections are the questions from Amick.
To see you and the team playing this well, especially with AD out, has me wondering what the conversations with (president of basketball operations) Rob (Pelinka) and (owner) Jeanie (Buss) are like these days in terms of the roster. What’s the nature of your message? What is that communication like?
Man listen, I play the game. I worry about who’s in the locker room. I can’t — it’s not my … it’s not my job. I can’t do nobody else’s job.
But LeBron, you’re 38, and you’re doing things that have never been done.
I know that.
And the idea that a team would hold on to some picks and wait for next year …
Well if you guys know, then you guys know. You guys know. I don’t need to talk about it. You guys know.
But if you stay quiet, then time is gonna keep marching on, no?
Listen, you guys know. It’s not rocket science. It’s not rocket science.
But is that conversation (with ownership and management) evolving?
I’m working. I don’t have time. We’re playing every other day, three (out of) four nights. I don’t have time to be…
Right, but we’ve got cell phones. We can call people.
Listen, I’m doing my job. That’s all I can do.
But how’s your patience level? Is that aspect (of this situation) tugging at you?
They’re doing what they feel is best for the franchise.
How do you feel about that?
I’m doing what’s best for my guys in the locker room. That’s all I can worry about. I’ll let y’all …
A brief pause as he walks away, and one final, unmistakable comment that was shouted from nearly 20 feet away …
Y’all know what the f— should be happening. I don’t need to talk.
If I were the Lakers, I would be very, very concerned about this interaction. LeBron does nothing by accident. He knew exactly what he was doing by saying those things in that particular way to a reporter. This is as close as he'll get to criticizing the front office. He knows the franchise cornerstone can't do that publicly-- but he can definitely send a message with vague answers and that is exactly what he's doing.
If the Lakers adhere to the "if there's smoke, there's fire" philosophy then they better get the fire hoses ready ASAP. Because there is a problem brewing here that will not go away.