Los Angeles Lakers fans expect changed at the NBA trade deadline. Little did they know that the current Lakers front office has very little to play with. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have put the Lakers in a bind.
While LA is currently in the play-in picture, LeBron expected upgrades at the deadline from Rob Pelinka and Co. Yet, despite being the King, there's only so much the Lakers can do around the deadline, especially if they are lacking in assets.
James would have been better suited going all-in with his current corps, rather than encouraging trades with an hourglass emoji. James antics on social media will only further distance him from his teammates, especially those who were on the block prior the deadline -- we're looking at you D'Angelo Russell.
LeBron James and Lakers fans disappointed in NBA trade deadline
James expected moves, but he's not 28 anymore. The Lakers have to plan for their future while adding to the present group. Dealing away all of their assets just to make LeBron happy isn't in their best interest.
Thankfully, the buyout market has some intriguing role players in it, including Killian Hayes and Victor Oladipo. Los Angeles is far from done trying to improve its roster, but that will not come on LeBron's terms.
As unfortunate as James antics on social media may be, publicly he has been nothing but committed to LA's front office. Sam Amick of The Athletic (subscription required) made this clear last week:
"His statement to reporters regarding his contract is the only part that truly matters when it comes to the power dynamics in play here. Team sources say the Lakers would strongly prefer that James retire in their jersey someday, meaning he holds all the cards until his contract situation gets figured out. The Lakers' top decision makers have no illusions about that much."
James retiring in a Lakers jersey is ideal. LeBron losing in the play-in tournament is not, even at this age. Los Angeles was in a tough spot, but James must now figure out how to make this current iteration of the Lakers work on his terms. Reinforcements are not coming.