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Despite adding arguably the best player in history in LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers still failed to make the playoffs this past season. The team's inability to win, along with the dysfunction that plagues its front office front office, have turned the historic organization from a free agency hotbed to a cold crypt. Now, the Lakers are scrambling to make major moves, or risk losing James.
During a recent appearance on The Sedano Show, Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Plaschke said James is looking to be a part of a championship contender in the near future, and could leave the Lakers if the team fails to make major moves this offseason.
"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," he said. ESPN's Dave McMenamin backed up Plaschke's claim. "Everyone I speak to associated with LeBron, they are holding the rope for now, and all they can do is be positive because this is going to be a crucial five-week stretch," he said. "But on the other side of that, if it's July 10th in Los Angeles and it's Nic Vucevic [that the Lakers have had to settle for], or whomever does not meet the criterion of bringing in a star who can make them an immediate contender, you could only imagine where things could go."
Plaschke continued, "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 just might as well just get him out of here.' So this is huge."
Despite these reports, the likelihood of LeBron leaving Los Angeles is very low. Although he is still an elite player that loves the game of basketball, James has put an emphasis on grounding his family in the Los Angeles area. His son, LeBron "Bronny" James, Jr. is a top basketball prospect who will begin his high school career at L.A. powerhouse Sierra Canyon School. Also—around the same time Plaschke's remarks were made—it was announced the LeBron's former teammate/best friend Dwyane Wade would be sending his son Zaire Wade to play alongside Bronny at Sierra Canyon.
James is also in full Hollywood mogul mode, and has been embraced by the entertainment industry. Still, the pressure is on the Lakers to add another star just in case Plaschke is right.