LeBron James carried the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory last night after Anthony Davis went down with a nasty ankle injury. The purple and gold beat the Utah Jazz, 106-101, largely due to LeBron's massive fourth quarter. The King looked like The King for a brief moment. Russell Westbrook was a productive and winning player. It all clicked -- for one game, at least, and without AD at that.
The story on Thursday is less about LeBron's excellent play and more about what he tweeted before the matchup. The Los Angeles Rams held their championship parade (without the Lakers or Dodgers, probably to LeBron's chagrin) and Les Snead wore a t-shirt that said "F Them Picks." He later used the sentiment during his speech, a reference to his team-building strategy that uses picks as fodder to acquire established talent rather than the other way around. One hour before tipoff last night, LeBron said "LEGEND! My type of guy!!" in response to a picture of Snead with the shirt.
For context, the Lakers did not do anything at the NBA trade deadline last week. Reports that have surfaced since then suggest that no moves were made in part because Los Angeles wanted to keep their 2027 first-round draft pick. The thought here is LeBron tweeted this as a message to Pelinka that draft picks should not be a factor in winning right now. Some real "chess, not checkers" vibes.
As fun as it is to imagine LeBron sitting at his locker an hour before gametime muttering about the state of the roster, this wasn't a shot at Pelinka. LeBron doesn't use his Twitter like that. Kevin Durant, maybe. Not LeBron. LeBron's social presence is mostly consisted of advertising his own products and a lot of emoji usage.
It also doesn't really make any sense. Pelinka was the architect behind the Davis trade that sent five years' worth of picks to the New Orleans Pelicans. LeBron knows Pelinka would give up picks to win games right now.
Which leads to the final conclusion-- if this were a subtweet at anybody, it would be to Lakers management. The same reports that claimed Los Angeles wanted to keep their 2027 pick also claimed that the directive came from the top-down. Like, above Pelinka. Which makes more sense! Pelinka knows how often teams change GMs. He has no reason to worry about what'll happen in 2027. The people who own the team, on the other hand...
Too often in sports media we create smoke when there is no fire. If that's not what's happening here, then we're looking for fire in the wrong place.