Like everyone else, LeBron James is guilty of wavering confidence. The Los Angeles Lakers have gone through many things to lead to that loss of belief of them. At the same time, they’ve done what they can with limited assets. In this case, matters beyond their control reared their ugly heads and have resulted in a 27-32 record following a heartbreaker to the cross-town Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.
There was plenty of speculation on what the future held for the team after his own comments during the All-Star break that have been chronicled here by Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll.
Was James going to leave? Would they be trading Russell Westbrook or Anthony Davis? A lot of crazy questions have flown around and created a fog around a team that’s fighting for its playoff life. As LeBron spoke to the media after Friday’s game, he remained strong in his belief that the Lakers’ brass could build a championship contender around him.
Here’s his full quote on his level of confidence in the organization building a contender around him again, transcribed by Faigen and SS&R:
“Very confident. I mean, they’ve done it. They’ve shown me that… Ever since I got here, the front office, Jeanie, Linda, Kurt and everybody has welcomed me with open arms. And has given me an opportunity to play for a historical franchise and welcomed my family in, and I just try to give back to the game and inspire kids and inspire people that want to follow the Lakers and put them back at a level that they’re accustomed to being. And that’s always been my focus.
“I don’t understand how some of my comments over the weekend were taken to a whole different area… I never said I could see myself playing in a Cavaliers uniform. I talked to Jason Lloyd [of The Athletic] and he asked me, and I said ‘well, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but actually me playing for the Cavs, I don’t know. I don’t know about that. Could I see myself retiring as a Cav?’ And he asked me, like ‘what if you just came here and signed for a day and retired as a Cav?’ And I said ‘that possibly could be.’
With all the jokes and rumors about returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023, it’s understandable how his thoughts were misconstrued. LeBron still has one of the best running mates in Anthony Davis by his side. They also have better trade assets in the summer when compared to the trade deadline, as they will have two first-round picks to trade as opposed to the one they had only a couple of weeks ago. During that deadline, Klutch Sports and the front office were reportedly at an impasse.
Rob Pelinka has consistently made moves with his limited assets and reach. Going into the 2022-23 season, he’s going to be working again to rectify this underwhelming season. To have LeBron publicly back him relieves a little pressure. At the same time, it raises expectations for him to get the team into a contending position, even if it takes drastic changes.