LeBron James’ Recent Tweet Should Have Lakers Fans Panicking

For LeBron James and the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, the All-Star Break can’t arrive soon enough.

LA is limping into the weekend at 27-31, placing them ninth in the Western Conference. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Lakers will now have to navigate without Anthony Davis, as the oft-injured big man will miss the next four weeks minimum due to a mid-foot sprain.

Even though the buyout market allows LA to pursue roster upgrades, its lack of movement at the trade deadline was not what most fans wanted to see. It’s also not what LeBron wanted to see, as the 37-year-old’s recent Twitter activity should make Lakers Nation deeply concerned.

The Lakers are unlikely to undergo major changes next offseason

General manager Rob Pelinka doesn’t exactly have an unlimited supply of resources at his disposal. With no first-round picks or cap space anytime soon, it made a trade deadline overhaul basically impossible.

It also prevents Pelinka from making any major moves this summer.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently appeared on Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast to discuss LA’s inactivity at the deadline.

“My interpretation was that the Lakers organization, from ownership on down, basically decided: ‘You guys got yourself into this. This is the bed you have made,” Shelburne told Windhorst and fellow reporter Dave McMenamin. “LeBron, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, all the future Hall of Famers, this is your choice of roster and team, go make it work, and we are not going to mortgage our future in terms of draft picks and in terms of taking on luxury tax.'”

Additionally, Shelburne explained how LA is more or less telling James and the other stars that this core will be in place next season as well.

“That’s some of the phrasing I’ve heard. ‘Let’s not make a change to make a change. Let’s make a change when we know it’s going to make us a lot better.’ And I’ve even heard the phrasing, ‘This is probably going to be the roster next year, too,'” Shelburne explained. “Now, obviously, the minimum contract guys will change, but I think this is what they’ve got. … I don’t think LeBron’s been in a situation where he just gets told, ‘No,’ flat out very often.”

Westbrook, James, and Davis are set to earn a combined $129.5 million in 2022-23. For context, the NBA has already informed teams that next season’s salary cap is projected at $121 million with the tax level at $147 million.

LeBron James throws shade at the Lakers on Twitter

Leading up to the trade deadline, LeBron had discussions with Pelinka about how to improve the roster. There was even a report that Westbrook’s fate in LA was tied to James, the four-time world champion. Yet no moves were made, leaving the King on his own.

It was possible James emphasized patience and told Pelinka the Lakers would figure things out. However, his recent Twitter activity says otherwise.

Last Sunday, LeBron witnessed the LA Rams defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Super Bowl 56. The Rams held a parade throughout the city on Wednesday, which caught James’ attention for one reason in particular.

Rams GM Les Snead was photographed wearing a shirt at the parade that had his face on it with the words “F*** them picks.” Snead has developed a reputation for trading draft picks for win-now help, most notably in last year’s deal for quarterback Matthew Stafford. While Snead’s moves have finally led to a title, LA hasn’t made a first-round pick since 2016 and won’t have one until 2024.

Snead’s NSFW wardrobe was quote-tweeted by James on Wednesday, the same day Shelburne’s report dropped. The King wrote, “LEGEND! My type of guy!!” in a tweet that has earned over 16,000 likes and a thousand retweets as of Friday morning.

Perhaps James was innocently supporting Snead and the Rams. However, praising another GM for trading picks and going all in a title after the Lakers remained stagnant is … a little suspicious.

The Lakers might have a LeBron problem on their hands

Within the King’s first two seasons in town, he rejuvenated a lost franchise, navigated the club through Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, and delivered a championship. But the last two years have been a major disappointment, with the 2020-21 season ending in a first-round exit and this year looking even worse.

LeBron has gone on record saying he hopes to retire as a Laker. Though with just one year left on his contract, LA might be costing themselves an opportunity to keep the future Hall of Famer in town a while longer.

It’s bad enough the last two seasons haven’t gone as planned. Now consider the Lakers are both unwilling and unable to do much with this roster now and moving forward. That’s the opposite of what James experienced for the majority of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. Why would he want to stay in Hollywood and cost himself the chance at a legacy-defining fifth title?

There’s also the Bronny James factor. LeBron’s oldest son is set to graduate high school in 2023, right as James’ contract expires. Assuming draft eligibility rules haven’t changed by then, Bronny would enter the NBA in ’24. That means James could potentially sign a one-year pact with LA or whoever in 2023-24 before joining Bronny’s new team.

When James signed with the Lakers in 2018, it was a dream come true for fans of the Purple and Gold. But thanks to poor roster decisions and a refusal to correct them, fans need to start preparing for LeBron’s painful departure.

Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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