Rich Paul kills speculation about LeBron James’ Lakers future

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The agent for LeBron James reportedly has quickly shot down any idea that the superstar is looking to be traded by the Los Angeles Lakers.

“LeBron won’t be traded, and we aren’t asking to be,” agent Rich Paul said to ESPN.

With the NBA trade deadline approaching next week, speculation about James’ future started to heat up after he posted an hourglass emoji to social media following a loss earlier this week. It remains unclear what the 39-year-old actually meant by that, but it didn’t take long for some to speculate that he may be looking to leave the Lakers.

One local Los Angeles sports anchor reported that the Lakers actually are the ones putting out feelers to trade the All-Star starter.

Despite an impressive victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday without James or Anthony Davis in the lineup, the Lakers are 25-25 and in ninth place in the Western Conference.

In his 21st NBA season, James is averaging 24.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game in his 44 appearances. He sat out Thursday with left ankle peroneal tendinopathy, while Davis was sidelined by bilateral Achilles tendinopathy and a left hip spasm.

James has a player option in his contract for next season. He has often said he would like to play in the NBA at the same time as his son Bronny, who could declare for the 2024 NBA Draft after completing his freshman season at the University of Southern California.

The Lakers have been a key figure in trade speculation leading up to the deadline, with Dejounte Murray of the Atlanta Hawks a rumored top target. They also reportedly have an interest in Marcus Smart of the Memphis Grizzlies.

With the trade deadline nearing, the Lakers are looking at options as they continue to try to give the elder James the best possible opportunity to win his fifth NBA title. If he is indeed going to stay put — as his agent claims — they still have a few more days to improve the team with a move before the deadline.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. He remembers the birth of "Showtime" and has always admired the star power the Lakers have brought to the game.