The drama continues to amplify for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2022 All-Star break.
It started Saturday when LeBron James opened the door by saying the door to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is not closed, making his current situation with the Lakers murky. James also confirmed his final season will be spent with his son Bronny James, so that will likely end his tenure in L.A. too if another team secures Bronny.
This comes after the Lakers did not make any trades before the deadline on Feb. 10. James and the players knew trades needed to happen to improve the roster and make a title run, but Lakers VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka stood firm.
There was a deal that would’ve sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for John Wall, but Pelinka did not want to send L.A.’s coveted 2027 first-round pick to end the Westbrook experiment.
Not pulling the trigger for that move has made Klutch Sports, James’ agency, not happy with Pelinka, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
According to multiple NBA sources, Klutch is not happy with Pelinka. The sentiment has long percolated, but it reached a boil when Pelinka refused to trade Westbrook and a future first-round pick (likely 2027) for Houston Rockets guard and Klutch client John Wall.
The move didn’t make sense for the Lakers from a basketball standpoint as a significant upgrade over Westbrook, even though Wall averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists per game last year. Wall hasn’t played this season, with the Rockets focusing on developing younger players. From the Klutch point of view, the Lakers would get their client out of a bad situation in Houston and undo the Westbrook mistake.
The Lakers have had multiple players represented by Klutch on the roster since LeBron joined in 2018: Anthony Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ben McLemore, Markieff Morris, Montrezl Harrell, Dion Waiters, J.R. Smith.
Tristan Thompson was named a buyout candidate this season for the Lakers because of the Klutch connection, so it’s not surprising that not trading for Wall has Klutch feeling this way.
Let’s see if Pelinka and Klutch can mend the situation.