NBA Rumors: LeBron James Mentoring Young Lakers Core Was Always A Sham

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LeBron and Lakers

When LeBron James signed in Los Angeles, he knew what he was getting into. The team was filled with developing young players, not established veteran stars. Even still, when his announcement came, it seemed like he was ready to embrace the infamous Ball/Kuzma/Ingram/Hart core that the team had relied so much on prior to LeBron's announcement.

According to a new report, that was never the case. The intention was always to get another star with LeBron James as soon as possible.

"There’s no reason to be shocked that the players who were supposed to be the Lakers’ future have become trade assets," writes Zito Madu of SB Nation. "Last month, James admitted that he had been actively trying to recruit players, including Davis, to the Lakers, keeping in line with the Lakers’ historical tendency to pursue stars. Despite what they’ve said, James, Johnson, and Pelinka haven’t acted much differently than they otherwise have in recent years."

James’ age means that the mission has to be accomplished as soon as possible. Davis wanting out of New Orleans is a perfect opportunity to acquire a talent almost as tremendous as James himself. No need for patience — all it took to get the plan in motion was half a season.

At the beginning of the season, I wrote that James and young players do not mix well. The conclusion was that because James can do so much on a basketball court, he impedes the development of young players who need to have the freedom to try and fail often, and in the process realize the limits of their ability. With James on the team, they’re consigned to being helpers, which often means specializing in a certain skill and staying out of his way."

While LeBron and the Lakers may have been acting like they were being patient with the process, they've somehow been involved in every single trade rumor since the season began. True, their price for any piece of their young core is high. And true, there is still time for them to blossom into stars. But the Lakers can't afford to wait.

And everyone, including Magic and Rob, knew that going in. So now with the chance to capitalize on the opportunity they've been waiting for, don't think for a second that they'll be choosing young guys over Anthony Davis. That was never the case.