LeBron James reportedly lost young Lakers’ trust amid Anthony Davis drama
The Los Angeles Lakers pulled out all the stops in a bid to acquire Anthony Davis ahead of the NBA trade deadline. The fallout from the team’s dogged pursuit of the New Orleans Pelicans superstar, however, reportedly left LeBron James alienated from his younger teammates due to his perceived involvement.
In a deep dive concerning the current state of the Lakers organization, The Athletic’s Bill Oram reports a “schism” developed between James and the team’s younger players. Such an outcome should hardly be a surprise in hindsight, as many of these same young players were being dangled to the Pelicans.
The Lakers are believed to have offered Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and some draft picks to the Pelicans in an aggressive bid to acquire Davis ahead of the trade deadline. When the Lakers’ attempts failed, it left a demoralized locker room, with the young nucleus harboring a newfound distrust toward James.
“It was apparent that the young players no longer trusted James, believing he was operating behind the scenes to get them traded to New Orleans,” Oram writes.
James made it clear earlier this season that he was intrigued by the possibility of the Lakers landing Davis in a trade, so it’s understandable for the younger Lakers players to perhaps feel some semblance of betrayal.
Despite Lakers brass’ efforts to do damage control in the wake of the failed Davis pursuit, the team could not turn around their disappointing season in the ensuing months. The lottery-bound Lakers are now confronted with an unexpectedly critical offseason in the wake of a wasted campaign in James’ first season in L.A.
Making matters more troubling in that regard is how Oram also reports the Lakers are expected to have difficulty attracting top-tier free agents this offseason.