LeBron James signed with the Lakers for many reasons. They play in sunny Los Angeles, where he has a home. They’re near Hollywood. They’re arguably the NBA’s most prestigious franchise.
I doubt it was because of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart. Especially because LeBron-to-the-Lakers became viewed as an eventuality before the Lakers got any of those young players.
And maybe LeBron’s interest in that quartet didn’t change much even after arriving in Los Angeles.
One team source told ESPN that they didn’t feel as though James fully engaged with the younger teammates prior to the trade deadline.
That’s only someone’s opinion, man. You or I could look at the same interactions between LeBron and his teammates and deem it healthy.
But there’s plenty of circumstantial evidence McMenamin’s source’s view is accurate.
LeBron repeatedly questioned his teammates. He openly courted Anthony Davis, which led the Lakers to offer most of their roster for the Pelicans superstar and disrupted chemistry in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, LeBron showed hypocrisy.
LeBron has sounded more pleased with his younger teammates lately. He even went out of his way to (over)emphasize their importance.
He better hope its not too late to instill positive working relationships with them.
Which star is coming to Los Angeles? How much trade value do these young players hold anymore?
Though they will and should continue to hunt for proven stars, the Lakers might be stuck developing from within.