Report: LeBron James ‘pissed’ with Mike Malone, will use him as motivation for next season

Zach Stevens
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is thought of as someone who is self-motivated, but it never hurts someone such as him to have some extra motivation from an external source.

According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, James is irate at Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone for whining about what he perceived as too much media focus on the Lakers and taking jabs at the four-time MVP in the process.

“In conversations with people…I can tell you that LeBron was very pissed with what Michael Malone said about him, and from folks I have spoken with, that he is one of the many motivators going into this season.”

In addition, Robinson said that James’ suggestion that he may think about retiring this summer was irrelevant and that he will be back with the Lakers next season.

“Also the conversation about him retiring was in the moment, and after playing the game and losing, he was very frustrated,” said Robinson. “But from folks that I have spoken with within the Lakers organization and those who know, they shared with me that you will see LeBron back in the fall and a very motivated LeBron going into the season.”

As usual, James played brilliant basketball throughout this season. But he started to carry a bigger load late in the season due to Anthony Davis’ stress injury, and the burden of single-handedly keeping the Lakers afloat was almost too much for him.

His feet bothered him all season long, and in late February he suffered a tendon injury in his right foot that forced him to sit out for a month. According to James himself, he had torn a tendon in that foot, and he said he may need to undergo surgery on it during the offseason.

Although at times during the playoffs he looked to be a bit diminished, it isn’t hard to imagine him yet again playing at an elite level if his feet heal 100 percent before training camp, even though he will turn 39 years of age in late December.

Everything turned around for Los Angeles thanks to multiple midseason trades that landed Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba. In particular, Russell took plenty of pressure off James, especially when it came to ball-handling and facilitating, while Hachimura gave the team a reliable scorer at the forward position when James was sitting.

Both Russell and Hachimura are about to become free agents, and executive Rob Pelinka has made it clear that the Lakers would like to keep their core together, which would mean keeping Russell and Hachimura, as well as guard Austin Reaves.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.