LeBron James was able to veto a trade for Kawhi Leonard because he had the power of veto. The Lakers were trying to get an elite shooter in return for their superstar, but LeBron successfully vetoed the trade and kept him on the roster.
LeBron James had the power of veto over a trade for an elite shooter. The Lakers wanted to trade for Kawhi Leonard, but James vetoed it and they went with acquiring Anthony Davis instead.
While there have been rumors that the Los Angeles Lakers were close to finalizing a deal to acquire Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings, fresh evidence reveals how close that deal came to being completed. LeBron James is said to have put the deal on hold because he prefers the Lakers to go a different path.
With James entering his 19th NBA season, there are advantages and disadvantages to bringing in Russell Westbrook to help with playmaking. Even with the addition of a slew of additional veterans, the Lakers’ floor space may be an issue. When James, Westbrook, and Anthony Davis have space to get to the rim, they are at their best. However, rumors of James operating as a shadow GM aren’t exactly new.
LeBron James’ impact was discussed by a former Cavaliers general manager.
When LeBron James decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, David Griffin was the general manager in charge. As a result, Griffin was the main architect — at least on paper — of a team that reached the NBA Finals four times in a row and won the franchise’s first championship in 2016.
Griffin retired from the Cleveland Cavaliers in June of 2017. Griffin’s contract was not extended by owner Dan Gilbert. But when he left, he told Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischler in August 2019 that he was already going.
“LeBron gets all the glory and none of the blame,” says a source. People don’t enjoy being a part of that environment, therefore it’s not pleasant for them. We were able to win despite our culture to a large extent. I was well aware of this. I was aware of what we weren’t doing.
“(James) understood I could assist him in winning.) You must be prepared to have tough discussions with LeBron James. I was always like that, which is why we had such a good connection because I would tell him what he needed to hear, and he appreciated that I was giving him the truth.”
In a February 2019 interview with Sports Illustrated’s Michael Shapiro, Griffin slammed any notions that James was the playmaker.
“I feel terrible for LeBron because so many people are talking about it. It’s a ridiculous claim that he was a shadow GM. We spoke with a number of individuals on the squad, including LeBron James, who happens to be a basketball whiz.”
James was instrumental in Westbrook’s late move from Hield.
After LeBron James (L) pushed for the triple-double king over Sacramento Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired veteran Russell Westbrook (R). Getty Images/Harry How | Getty Images/Patrick McDermott
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin recently said on The Lowe Post podcast that LeBron James was instrumental in the team’s quick decision to pursue Westbrook.
“Unquestionably, LeBron James preferred the Russ move over the Buddy Hield move. Is it because he understands that the Lakers may not have had enough playmakers, which has been a focus of emphasis for him since the 2016-17 season? But the issue is if he wanted Russ because he realizes he’ll be a 19-year NBA veteran in December and needed someone to help him out?
“Perhaps it’s the greatest thing, that he has someone to whom he can entrust part of the burden. Are the Lakers, on the other hand, a championship team if LeBron isn’t plus-plus LeBron?”
There’s certainly a case to be made that Hield would have been a better match in Los Angeles. The Lakers’ championship defense was thwarted in part by James and Davis’ severe ailments. However, they were at the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting across the board.
The Lakers had some shooting from LeBron James, but not at Hield’s level.
The Lakers did not take or make many 3-pointers last season. Their 35.4 percent shooting percentage ranked 21st in the NBA, while their 11.1 made baskets per game ranked 25th. They fared somewhat better in terms of attempts, coming in 24th place with 31.2 per night. In comparison, Hield shot 39.1 percent from outside the arc, a career low.
There was some gunfire in LA. Last season, Wayne Ellington shot 42.2 percent for the Pistons, and he has a career record of 38.2 percent. Then there’s Carmelo Anthony (40.9%), Malik Monk (40.1%), and Kendrick Nunn (40.1%). (38.1 percent ). Anthony, on the other hand, is a 35.3 percent three-point shooter. Monk has a career record of 33.9 percent, while Nunn has a mark of 36.4 percent.
After that, there’s Westbrook. Last season, he shot 31.5 percent from the range, his highest mark in four years. He’s hit 30.5 percent of the time in his career, but he averages four a game, so the bricks should be plenty.
LeBron James allegedly made his decision, and General Manager Rob Pelinka followed through. In the end, this collaboration will be determined by the amount of space available. If the Lakers can acquire it, they might be back on top. If not, things may rapidly spiral out of control.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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