In the wake of public comments from LeBron James about a possible return to Cleveland and media reports outlining his agency’s discontent with the organization, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul has met with the Lakers’ owner, Jeanie Buss, and general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday, insisting there is no movement underway to seek management changes and that he believes there is shared responsibility for the franchise’s disappointing season, sources told ESPN.
Paul, whose agency represents stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, made it clear that James’ primary goal is to remain a Laker and the goal now should be to finish the season as strong as possible and then regroup in the offseason to look ways to improve the team, the sources said.
After Pelinka resisted making deals at the trade deadline, James’s own public comments, raising the possibility of a return to Cleveland and praising Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti, began to fuel speculation that that he could leave in 2023 free agency. Paul has privately downplayed that possibility, telling the Lakers that James is committed to playing his part in helping the Lakers become championship contenders again, sources said.
The Lakers are 27-31, ninth in the Western Conference and are currently without Davis, so sources told ESPN it’s likely another four or five weeks he’ll be out due to a sprained midsection. of the right foot.
The Lakers believe they will have expiring point guard Russell Westbrook ($47.1 million), Talen Horton-Tucker and first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to use in trades.