LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar small forward, has made a final decision on his return from a groin injury.
The future of superstar LeBron James remains uncertain
According to Chris Haynes, senior insider for TNT and Bleacher Report, James will return to the lineup against the San Antonio Spurs on November 25.
Previously, James had missed five consecutive games due to a groin injury suffered on November 9 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
On the season, the four-time MVP and four-time Finals MVP is averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists while shooting 45.7% from the field, 23.9% from beyond the arc, and 66.7% from the free-throw line. In terms of points per game and assists per game, James ranks 18th in the league.
LeBron wants the Lakers to make a trade
According to a November 10 report from Haynes, James and the Lakers’ core players want general manager Rob Pelinka to trade the team’s first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to upgrade the roster.
James does not want to squander an entire season of his elite play. Last season, the King averaged 30.3 points per game, but the Lakers did not make the playoffs.
Haynes reported: “Lacking young, enticing assets and draft capital to strengthen the roster, the Lakers are only armed with two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, respectively. James, who turns 38 next month and is in Year 20 of his NBA career, does not want to waste a season of his high-level playing days in hopes of incoming reinforcements for the 2023-24 campaign, sources say.”
“Other core players on the roster would likewise prefer those picks to be used to elevate this year’s team, that’s the burdensome decision Pelinka now faces.”
In August, James agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension with a player option for the 2024-25 season, demonstrating a level of commitment to the Lakers franchise when he didn’t have to.
During media day in September, Pelinka told reporters that he would do everything in his power to improve the roster around James, one of the greatest players in NBA history.
“Let me be abundantly clear: We have one of the great players in LeBron James to ever play the game and he committed to us on a long-term contract, a three-year contract,” Pelinka said.
“So of course, we will do everything we can, picks included, to make deals to give us a chance to help LeBron get to the end. He committed to our organization. That’s got to be a bilateral commitment and it’s there.”
Pelinka is unlikely to follow through on his promise to LeBron
According to Haynes, the Lakers are unlikely to trade their future draft picks this season. In Los Angeles, it is not “universally believed internally” that a trade for Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner and shooting guard Buddy Hield would move the needle toward title contention.
“With the team’s trajectory trending south, sources indicate the front office is unlikely to attach those picks to a potential trade out of concern that such a transaction would not significantly change the course of the season,” Haynes reported.
“It is not universally believed internally that a trade for Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner and sharpshooter Buddy Hield would move the needle to title contention, sources say. If that concern proved to be accurate, the Lakers would be devoid of lucrative resources for the remainder of James’ contract, which runs through 2024-25.”
In Lakers uniform, James averages 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 8.2 assists. At the Walt Disney World bubble, he helped the team win the 2020 championship over the Miami Heat.