Jeanie Buss on LeBron James’ contract extension, trade buzz

Jeanie Buss has apparently heard the rumblings from critics that the Lakers should consider trading superstar LeBron James after a botched roster job contributed to a losing season and failed playoff aspirations.

Buss, the franchise’s famed president, reportedly isn’t jumping to make rash decisions

If James ultimately decides against more seasons with the Lakers — he’s up for a contract extension Aug. 4 — Buss wouldn’t see his desire to play out the final season of his contract as a reason to consider trading him, according to The Athletic.

The news comes a week after Bleacher Report reported the Lakers front office is internally blaming James and Anthony Davis for their failed Russell Westbrook experiment. The organization reportedly felt pressure from Klutch Sports Group, which represents both James and Davis, for the blockbuster trade that landed them Westbrook.

James reportedly had a heavy hand in recruiting Westbrook, who had one of his worst offensive seasons in his debut campaign with the Lakers. After the Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention on April 5, Westbrook said he planned to return to Los Angeles next season, but that remains to be seen.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss doesn’t have designs on moving LeBron James.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In 2019, it was reported that Lakers owner Jeanie Buss contemplated trading James because she is “furious,” with James’ agent, Rich Paul. Those rumors have come back to haunt Lakers fans, with a few media personalities backing the idea of ​​moving James.

On ESPN’s “First Take” this week, host Stephen A. Smith said he believes the Lakers should “strongly consider trading” the 37-year-old superstar.

Smith isn’t alone in the idea, either. In February, Los Angeles Times sports columnist Ben Plaschke suggested the Lakers “must trade” James, writing that although it “sounds crazy, it’s the best path forward.”

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on
Many pointed the finger at LeBron James for the failed Lakers season.
Getty Images

Last month, James addressed his contact situation in his end-of-season press conference at the team facility in El Segundo — the same day the Lakers officially parted ways with their head coach, Frank Vogel.

“The conversation hasn’t been talked about technically because of the [NBA’s] collective bargaining agreement,” said James, who turns 38 in December. “I know it’s out there, but myself and [agent] Rich [Paul] can’t even begin to talk to [GM] Rob [Pelinka] and the front office because of the collective bargaining agreement. When we get to that point, we’ll see.”

While reflecting this past season — in which the 33-49 Lakers failed to make the play-in tournament — James seemed optimistic about his future with the team.

“I came here to win a championship but I want to win more… I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish… but I want to do it again,” he said, referring to the NBA title the Lakers won in the 2020 NBA Bubble season.

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