After making zero moves ahead of the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers were heavily criticized, especially their general manager Rob Pelinka, who decided to keep the roster untouched and face the rest of the season with most of the agents that started it.
Russell Westbrook hasn't made the impact that the team expected, earning plenty of criticism from fans and media members alike. Everybody thought he would be dealt before the trade deadline hit, but the Lakers had different plans.
Following that quiet Thursday, we learned more details about the Lakers' approach. Reports suggested they didn't move Westbrook because they still feel they can win with Brodie on the floor. Others said they didn't want to make a move and get players that would place them way above the tax luxury.
Moreover, several reporters claimed that LeBron James and Anthony Davis never agreed with Pelinka's decision of not making moves, contradicting what the executive previously said.
During the All-Star weekend, LeBron James has been very outspoken about the Lakers' current situation. He has made taken some subtle jabs at Pelinka and the team's front office, raising a lot of eyebrows around the league.
But there’s more than meets the eye here in the post-trade deadline landscape, not only in Lloyd’s interview but in James’ press conference that preceded it and on social media in the days leading into All-Star weekend. So. Much. More.
Let us count the ways (that he shared his discontent)…
1. He called the Lakers’ lackluster campaign a “hell-storm of a season” — a true statement that is reflected in their 27-31 record and the fact that they’re fighting for a spot in the play-in tournament (that he once chided) at this point. He lauded all sorts of out-of-nowhere praise on Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti, a move that came in response to a question about Josh Giddey. It was curious at best and passive-aggressive toward Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka at worst.
2. He raved about Cavs general manager Koby Altman, highlighting all the draft picks and trades that have sparked his old team’s renaissance without him. As anyone who paid attention during his Cleveland exit four years ago, this newfound penchant for promoting Altman’s acumen was most assuredly not part of his politics back then.
3. James tweeted about Los Angeles Rams general manager Les Snead on Wednesday, celebrating his t-shirt that read “Fuck them picks.” This isn’t Da Vinci Code-level stuff, folks. It’s quite clear that James isn’t thrilled with the way the Lakers’ season has been handled so far.
4. In case anyone forgets, James made it known heading into the Feb. 10 trade deadline that he believed the Lakers’ roster needed some reshuffling. When the Lakers were routed by Milwaukee at home that night, trailing by as many as 24 points in the first half and losing 131-116, he declared that the Lakers weren’t on the defending champions’ level. Yet again, it was an accurate but direct statement that reflected his sober outlook on the Lakers’ state of affairs.
LeBron has earned a reputation around the league, with some fans mocking him for making moves under the shadow. Some say this could be another move by 'LeGM,' as he doesn't sound very happy about the Lakers' present and future. Bron knows his championship window could close this season, and the Lakers might have missed a big chance to improve the roster before the deadline struck.