LeBron James breaks his silence on Lakers’ failed attempt to add ‘impact player’ this offseason

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James shared his thoughts on the team’s failure to add an ‘”impact player” so far this offseason.

Los Angeles missed out on players like Klay Thompson (joined the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade), DeMar DeRozan (joined the Sacramento Kings in a sign-and-trade) and Jonas Valanciunas (joined the Washington Wizards in a sign-and-trade) this offseason despite James being willing to take a pay cut to add a player to the roster.

“It takes two to tango,” James told ESPN of the Lakers’ failed attempts to add a player to the roster. “I think our front office, our coaching staff, they tried to do the job that they wanted to do or tried to get guys to come and it didn’t happen. And that’s OK. That’s part of the business. I’ve been in this business long enough to know that sometimes it happens, sometimes it don’t.

“So we don’t sit here and lie about or cry about it. We move on and Klay’s a great player. Obviously DeMar’s a great player. Valanciunas was one of those guys who ended up going to Washington, was someone that was in talks with us, but we move on to see how we continue to get better.

“I’m looking forward to this fall when I get back out there.”

While the Lakers missed out on some key free agents, it appears that James isn’t frustrated with the franchise’s effort. James also still ended up taking a pay cut, which reportedly could help them make a move for Spencer Dinwiddie or Gary Trent Jr. this offseason.

The Lakers could still make a move in the trade market by moving a player like D’Angelo Russell or Rui Hachimura, but it’s unclear at the moment if that’s the direction the front office would like to take.

James agreed to a two-year deal with the Lakers (the second season is a player option) this offseason, and it’s been reported that he “desperately” wants a chance to win a title again in his NBA career.

Los Angeles last made the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season, defeating the Miami Heat in six games. James and Anthony Davis led the Lakers to that title, but they have yet to get back to that point.

A 20-time All-Star, James is still playing at an elite level, and he did get Los Angeles to a Western Conference Finals in the 2022-23 season. Last season, the 39-year-old averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game while shooting 54.0 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from deep in the regular season.

He then followed that up by playing at a high level in the playoffs, averaging 27.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game across five games against the Denver Nuggets.

It certainly hurts that the Lakers couldn’t land a player like Thompson, DeRozan or Valanciunas to bolster their efforts to win now, but they still have some players that they could trade – as well as several draft picks – should the right offer come along.

For now, it appears James is focused on winning with the group the Lakers currently have ahead of the 2024-25 regular season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.