Dismissed as “just noise” by a member of the team’s senior management, the situation was serious enough so that James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka, sources confirmed to The Times. The meeting, which was first reported by ESPN, was to reiterate James’ commitment to the Lakers, who have him under contract for this season and next, and to clear up any perceived issues between the sides. “I don’t understand how some of my comments over the weekend were taken to a whole different area,” James said, claiming that his words were twisted.
Asked if he could see himself with this team long term, James was as direct about his future as he’s been. “This is a franchise I see myself being with. I’m here. I’m here,” James said. “… I literally live in the moment. I do. I live in the moment. I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play. “But I also have a goal that if it’s possible — I don’t even know if it’s possible — that if I can play with my son, I would love to do that. Is that like, something that any man shouldn’t want that in life? That’s like the coolest thing that could possibly happen. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be with this franchise.”
He also acknowledged his role in the Lakers’ roster reconstruction, a role he’s taken on throughout his career, though he put limits on his influence. “They ask for my opinion and I voice my opinion and what I believe,” James said of the organization for which he plays. “But I don’t press any buttons. That’s what our front office is for and that’s what our leadership group is for. I don’t press no buttons. So we can state that right now. I do wish that we were just playing better basketball.”
Asked if he believed the Lakers’ front office could construct a winner around him, James offered support. “Very confident. They’ve done it. They’ve shown me that,” he said of the 2020 NBA title the Lakers won. “Ever since I got here, the front office of Jeanie, Linda [Rambis], Kurt [Rambis], everybody, has welcomed me with open arms and has given me an opportunity to play for a historical franchise and welcomed my family in. And I just try to give back my part of the game and inspire kids and inspire people that want to follow the Lakers and put them back at a level that they’re accustomed to being. And that’s always been my focus.”
“I don’t understand how some of my comments over the weekend were taken to a whole different area … I never said I could see myself playing in a Cavaliers uniform. I talked to Jason Lloyd and he asked me, and I said, ‘Well, I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But actually, me playing for the Cavs, I don’t know. I don’t know about that. Could I see myself retiring as a Cav?’ And he asked me, like ‘What if you just came here and signed for a day and retired as a Cav?’ And I said ‘that possibly could be.’
“And then things about my son, me wanting to play with my son wherever he’s at — You guys take my words and just twist them to different places where they shouldn’t go. Like if I comment or compliment the GM that’s in OKC, I really believe that he’s done a phenomenal job. And you guys spin that to me saying that Rob (Pelinka) is not doing a great job. Or if I say the GM from the Rams, I loved his f*ckin T-shirt. I thought it was dope. And I believe the same way: I don’t care about picks. I only care about winning championships. How is that directed at Rob and the Lakers’ franchise? Rob has done the same thing. He went and got AD, he didn’t care about picks as well, obviously.”
But Paul strongly refuted the notion that there is any sort of divide between James and the Lakers, or that these were all signs of a grand exit plan that’s yet to come. And when the meeting was all done, one in which Paul said some of the time was even spent “laughing and catching up,” he says they all found themselves in a more productive, peaceful place. “I just don’t think (communicating indirectly) is the right way of doing business,” Paul, who also represents the Lakers’ Anthony Davis, told The Athletic. “And I don’t think that’s who we are, who LeBron is. We have a great partnership with the Lakers. The Klutch Sports Group and the Lakers don’t have an issue. Rich Paul and Rob Pelinka don’t have an issue. LeBron James and Rob Pelinka don’t have an issue. And Jeanie Buss and LeBron and Rich Paul don’t have an issue. It’s very simple. Very simple. So, you know, whoever put that type of stuff out, and people run with it, I think it’s unfair to the Lakers.”
In the aftermath of LeBron James' public comments on a possible return to Cleveland and media reports describing his agency's displeasure with the organization, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday, insisting that there's no movement underway to seek management changes and that he believes there's a shared accountability for the franchise's disappointing season, sources told ESPN.
Paul -- whose agency represents stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis -- made it clear that James' primary objective is remaining a Laker and the goal now ought to be to finish the season as strong as possible and then regroup in the offseason on ways to improve the team, sources said.
After Pelinka resisted making any deals at the trade deadline, James' own public comments -- raising the possibility of a return to Cleveland and praising Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti -- started to fuel speculation that he could leave in free agency in 2023. Paul has privately downplayed that possibility, and told the Lakers that James is committed to playing his part in helping the Lakers to become championship contenders again, sources said.
If James wishes to finish out his contract and possibly his career with the Lakers, he has several options to maximize his earnings. For starters, he will become extension-eligible this offseason for up to two years, $97.1 million, which is the most he can get under the Over-38 rule. It would pay him $50.4 million in his age 40 season. He could also let his contract expire and re-sign with the Lakers in the 2023 offseason. A maximum contract for him then would be valued at $151.3 million over three years.
Last week, we looked at several high-profile players whose futures could be speculated on in next season’s transaction cycle. We briefly touched on James given his history of changing teams when his team’s window appears to be closing and are out of moves, or refuse to make them. We saw this story play out most recently in James’ most recent stint in Cleveland. If James were to hit the nuclear button and demand a trade in the 2022 offseason, he would in all likelihood get one. It’s possible he demands one if the Lakers cannot improve the team in his ever tighter window. It feels like L.A. will have to trade their last remaining assets for win-now players to put around James to keep him next year, even if they don’t believe the return significantly improves their title odds.
With each Los Angeles Lakers' mediocre performance this season, their playoff dreams are fading away slowly as they slip further in the standings. As a result, rumors have begun to circulate about a possible LeBron James exit in the near future. However, Shams Charania shut down all of that chatter as a guest on The Pat McAfee Show. LeBron is not leaving. On the show, Charania shared a message from James' agent, Rich Paul.
On the show, Charania shared a message from James’ agent, Rich Paul. “I spoke to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and he said that talk [of James leaving] in itself is ridiculous and it’s totally false," Charania told McAfee. "LeBron James isn’t leaving the Lakers, he’s going to be on the Lakers. The question is: how can the Lakers get better? That’s why I’ve heard they have been active in the trade market.”
Pat McAfee: What is goin on with the Lakers?? "I spoke to Rich Paul today & he told me there is no issues between LeBron James & the Lakers or Rob Pelinka" ~@ShamsCharania #PMSLive
Pat McAfee: “I personally don't see a scenario where LeBron James is bolting from the Lakers to the Cavs.. from everything I've been told his plan is to be a Laker for the foreseeable future" ~ @ShamsCharania #PMSLive
LeBron is extension-eligible at two years, $97 million. If he wanted a trade to a new team, it would be two years, $95 million. Even once he becomes extension eligible with the Lakers, I wouldn’t think he takes it immediately because he has all season to sign it with the Lakers and also maybe wants to keep his options open and keep applying pressure on the Lakers throughout the season.
Marc Stein: In conversations with people that I had in Cleveland, I think it's just assumed that the Cavs would jump at the chance to get LeBron back... and I really don't think that's the case.
The Los Angeles Lakers might have to trade for LeBron James this summer. James has rather clearly been offended by Lakers' management twice over the past two weeks. First when it elected not to make a deal before the Feb. 10 trade deadline after he had both publicly and privately prodded for something. More accurately, he expected it. And second when Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka stepped over the line when he announced James was on board with the status quo; a source told ESPN there was no prior sign-off from James.
Same as he was doing last week, in the wake of the trade deadline inaction, when he spoke about how his recent knee injury would likely bother him the rest of the season. The knee surely is an issue, but James was also laying the groundwork to give himself options depending on how the rest of the season plays out for the Lakers (27-31). What James is doing is likely aimed at one primary goal: Force the Lakers into major action this summer. He tried to do it nicely and now he's doing it harshly.
But it isn't free. Aug. 4 is the first day James can extend his contract again. The Lakers will surely offer one. And James will have some demands before he accepts. The Lakers have a flawed roster -- yes, James played a large role in putting it together but that doesn't mean he isn't ready to divorce it -- but they have options. If Russell Westbrook picks up his own player option, he will be on a $47 million expiring contract. After only being able to trade their 2027 first-round pick -- which the Lakers decided not to trade at the deadline, in part because they still owe two future firsts from the Anthony Davis deal -- rules will then allow the Lakers to trade their 2029 pick.
According to Oakley, one of the most important things that remain on LeBron’s checklist before he hangs it up would be to win another championship. Oakley isn’t completely confident that James will be able to achieve this with the Lakers and this is exactly why the 58-year-old believes that LeBron is going to part ways with the team sooner rather than later: “You know LeBron, his legacy right now is he definitely wants to win a championship before he retires,” Oaklay claimed on SiriusXM NBA Radio. “He might leave LA to get it. I don’t know if it will be Cleveland, could be somewhere else. He left twice. He’ll leave again.”
Pat McAfee: "I heard directly from Rich Paul that LeBron James isn't leaving the Lakers.. this team just doesn't look it has the young legs that they need to have & they have been very active in the trade market" @ShamsCharania
Kendrick Perkins: I wonder if Lebron James would consider demanding a trade back to Cleveland?! I mean the Cavs do have nice squad! Don’t mind me tho and Carry on...
LA Times' Bill Plaschke came on with Jorge, A-Kam and Dave to talk more about the Lakers' woes and . Bill revealed that if the Lakers don't get a "big fish" in the next month, LeBron could "want out."
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times on ESPN LA: "I’m hearing that, if they whiff on free agency, and if they whiff on a trade – which I don’t know how likely that is, but if that happens, they’ve got big trouble with LeBron. Why would LeBron – I mean, the LeBron era could be over before it starts here. I heard this for the first time yesterday. Somebody very connected said “You know what, if they whiff, LeBron’s going to say either, ‘I’m out of here’ or ‘Get me out of here,’ or the Lakers better just might as well just get him out of here."
The one thing Hart said he was fairly certain of was that no one on the roster was untouchable with the exception of two players: LeBron James, the team’s lone All-Star, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is represented by Klutch Sports, the same agency that represents James and Davis: “You’re going through it and you’re like ‘Alright, man.’ You had no idea. Like, really, it seemed like nobody was untouchable honestly, besides LeBron and KCP. That was the only untouchable pieces. Fortunately for me, my name wasn’t really thrown in there until the last day when basically everyone on the roster was allegedly getting traded. It was just a weird situation because you had no idea.”
It’s early in that process. Leonard’s shot just fell through the net. But one Western Conference executive brought up a name that could be a Simmons trade target: LeBron James. “I think they very well might explore that,” said a rival executive of Philadelphia. James doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but he shares the same Klutch Sports agent with Ben Simmons in Rich Paul. James has two seasons left on his deal before he can become a free agent.
During an appearance on the evening SportsCenter, Smith said that he’s been told people close to Jeanie Buss are telling her to trade LeBron.
Sagar Trika: Woj: LeBron James's decision won't be quick and will likely stretch into July. Implication here is that it can't be an opt-in-and-trade, as the player option deadline is June 29. Keep an eye on what he decides to do at the end of the month (a week from this upcoming Friday).
The challenge is finding the best situation out there that puts James on something more closely resembling a level playing field with the Warriors and their four All-Stars. “Everyone is trying to figure that out,” James acknowledged Thursday.
If Paul stays with the Rockets, Houston becomes the closest thing to a favorite on my scorecard, no matter how complicated it would be for the 65-win Rockets and their general manager, Daryl Morey, to orchestrate the requisite salary-cap gymnastics to bring James in. But don’t discount the idea that James could try to bring Paul with him to a team that can afford two superstars, such as the Lakers, because he and Paul really are that close.
Paul Garcia: If LeBron exercises his player option and gets traded like Chris Paul, he'll make $35,607,968 next season (per BI). If he signs elsewhere with cap space, he'll earn $35,350,000 next season. He has until June 29 to make the player option decision.
The prevailing thought from outside the Cavaliers is that LeBron forces a trade rather than walking away. Much like his good friend Chris Paul, LeBron can choose to opt into his final contract year and push his way to a team with existing stars – like Houston. The fact that teams like the Lakers and even the Philadelphia 76ers could sign him outright in free agency gives him some leverage.
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: Cleveland never approached LeBron James about waiving his no-trade clause. The team committed to righting ship with hopes of retaining James.
Following yet another disheartening loss by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 116-98 to an Orlando Magic team tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference, LeBron James said he will not waive his no-trade clause ahead of Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. "I'm here for the long haul," James said. "I'm here for this season right now, [to] try to figure out ways we can still compete. I couldn't give up on my teammates like that. I couldn't do that. I just couldn't do it. We put too much into the game every single day. We go out and prepare. Win, lose or draw, at the end of the day, we're all brothers, and we understand that. I owe it to my teammates to finish this season out no matter how it ends up. I would never waive my no-trade clause."
LeBron James confirmed he will not waive his no-trade clause by Thursday's deadline and expressed his commitment to the Cavs for the rest of this season. "I'm here for the long haul," James said after a 116-98 loss to the Orlando Magic.
LeBron James: "I'm here for this season right now, try to figure out ways we can still compete. I couldn't give up on my teammates like that. I couldn't do that. I just couldn't do it. I owe it to my teammates to finish this season out no matter how it ends up. I would never waive my no-trade clause."
There has been no indication publicly that Gilbert wants to trade James, and a team official said last month James was the one player the Cavs absolutely would not deal.
LeBron James will not waive the no-trade clause in his contract, a league source confirmed to the Beacon Journal Tuesday, and remains focused on winning now with the Cavaliers. With the NBA trade deadline looming on Thursday, teams have inquired about whether that was a possibility with James, according to a report by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.
LeBron James will not waive his no trade clause. A source told cleveland.com as much on Saturday night. James may even choose to resign with the Cavs this summer, and at any rate would not want to be dealt to a team that he didn’t hand pick as the precise, right situation for him.
Cleveland has attempted to behave as a buyer at the trade deadline, but the first approach toward a possible rebuild would be to examine trading the team’s core players — a conversation the Cavaliers have yet to broach with James, and both sides understand his position to play the season out, league sources said. Over the past several days, teams around the league have openly wondered about whether Cleveland would look into James dropping his no-trade — which would clear the way for a potential pursuit. However, James remains solely focused on competing for a championship in Cleveland this season and evaluating his future after the season ends.
Shams Charania: Sources: As NBA teams do due diligence on his no-trade clause and potential of him dropping it, LeBron James is determined to see year through in Cleveland, focused on season and will not waive the clause.
"I think the pressure gets pretty high," said a rival team executive. "If it's not working, they should either move the [Nets] pick or Love or LeBron. Those should all be on the table."
LeBron James may or may not be “100 percent” certain to leave Cleveland after this season, but the Cavaliers are reportedly already preparing for life without the King. According to Kevin Durant, James has more than earned the right to dictate the terms of any possible departure. Durant was replying to a tweet Wednesday from rapper Lil Dicky, who said, “If I’m Cleveland, I’m one thousand percent trading LeBron.” James actually has a no-trade clause in his contract, which also gives him the ability to opt out in 2018, but the Warriors forward took the tweet at face value, saying that the Cavs “can’t trade a legend.” “He is Cleveland, he gets to hold the cards,” Durant added.
Durant then returned to his exchange with Lil Dicky, who had noted the acrimony between Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and James over the latter’s 2010 exit in free agency. “If I’m Gilbert, I’m getting something back this time,” the rapper said. “I feel what you’re saying,” Durant replied. “Most owners think that way, but then you realize it’s LeBron James.”
No matter the reconstruction of the Cleveland Cavaliers' roster, no matter the potential for heightened inner turmoil, no matter the win-loss record, and with or without Kyrie Irving, LeBron James will not waive his no-trade clause for any teams at any point during the 2017-18 season, league sources tell ESPN.
James, along with Dirk Nowitzki and Carmelo Anthony, are the only players equipped with no-trade clauses. The Cavaliers' superstar holds a $35.6 million player option for the 2018-19 campaign, which means he could elect to test unrestricted free agency next summer. In regards to that scenario, a decision has not been made.
Sources are adamant that James is fully committed to leading the team with the personnel the organization imports to training camp in September. His primary focus is next season, an entire season with the Cavs in pursuit of another championship.
Anthony would also be willing to play with LeBron James in Cleveland but as of now the two teams have not been able to come close to striking a deal. Anthony is also concerned that LeBron may leave the Cavs next summer once LeBron becomes a free agent. It has been speculated for weeks that James is interested in signing with the Lakers.
Bobby Marks: On the LeBron James contract. James joins Melo, KG and Dirk as players with a no trade clause. 8 seasons and with current team 4 yrs to be eligible. James previous stint in Cleveland applies to a no trade clause.
August 8, 2022 | 3:49 pm EDT Update
Even as rumors of a Jazz rebuild swirl amid reports of trade talks involving Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson stays even-keeled. As the rain fell around us and kids yelled in the distance — pleading for Clarkson to stay in Utah and telling him that he is their favorite player — I took a serious tone and asked Clarkson how he was feeling considering everything that could potentially happen. “I’m chillin’,” he said with the wide and honest smile that has endeared him to Jazz fans for the last two years. “My mood is — I’m always good. My vibe is always good. It doesn’t change. This is my ninth year going into the league. I know how the business of basketball works.”
Newly minted Jazz coach Will Hardy stopped by to meet Clarkson in person and have a brief get-to-know-you session on Saturday while Clarkson was in town, and Hardy made a solid impression with the former Sixth Man of the Year. “I’m not that good at texting or calling people, so it was really cool to just kick it with him today and shoot the (expletive),” Clarkson said. “He’s tight. I like him a lot.”
What Clarkson knows for sure is that he is currently on the Jazz roster, he still has many years of basketball ahead of him, and he’s ready for whatever life throws at him. “Am I happy in Utah? Yes. Do I like my teammates? Yes. I met the new coach and love him,” Clarkson said. “This is all part of what it is. But my preparation never changes and I’m going to wake up every morning and be me and do what I do. Everything is good.”
August 8, 2022 | 3:17 pm EDT Update
Michael Scotto: Sources: James Harden has a 15 percent trade kicker included in his two-year, $68.64 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, @hoopshype has learned. Harden’s deal also contains a player option, as others have reported.