Richard Jefferson says LeBron James made ‘biggest mistake’ of his career by putting faith in Lakers and signing extension

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson, a former teammate of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, believes that James made a major mistake by signing an extension with the team.

Jefferson believes that James’ decision to sign the extension with the Lakers was a worse decision than leaving Cleveland or Miami earlier in his career.

James’ former teammate also believes that he may have signed his extension to show his commitment to the franchise so the Lakers would move the two first-round draft picks (in the 2027 and 2029 NBA drafts) to improve the roster.

“I think he did it because he was committed to the organization,” Jefferson said. “‘I know you got two picks. I’m going to show you my commitment to you so that you can go make some moves.’ Because we knew what this team was a year ago.

“We knew what this team was a year ago, last year. And they haven’t added any tangible pieces.”

The Lakers have gotten out to a slow start in the 2022-23 season, going just 2-8 through their first 10 games, but it hasn’t been because of James’ play.

The four-time champion is having another strong start to the season, as he is averaging 24.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field.

The issue for the Lakers is the team’s lack of shooting. Los Angeles is dead last in the NBA in 3-point percentage so far this season.

With the Lakers’ 2022-23 campaign already trending towards another year of missing the playoffs, Jefferson is questioning why James would have signed up for another year with this team. Unless the Lakers are willing to make a trade, or make a big splash in free agency in the offseason, this team isn’t constructed to win an NBA title.

It’s been reported that the Lakers are waiting for a “specific” player to become available before they move on from their two picks that they can trade, but time may be running out for the team to maximize this season.

James and Anthony Davis have shown that with a proper roster around them they can win an NBA title, but at this point, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers have failed to build one since the championship team in the 2019-20 season.

An 18-time All-Star, James is arguably the greatest player in NBA history. It seems like Jefferson is worried that his former teammate has hooked himself to a team that won’t be able to maximize the last few seasons of his prime in the league.

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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.