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Lakers Rumors: LeBron James 'Adamant' About Kyrie Irving Trade, Roster Improvements

Doric SamAugust 18, 2022

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James agreed to a two-year, $97.1 million extension Wednesday, but he reportedly isn't satisfied with the state of the team.

According to The Athletic's Jovan Buha, James "has been privately adamant that the Lakers still need to improve the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving."

Irving picked up his $36.9 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets earlier this offseason, but he's remained the subject of trade speculation. Previous reports indicated the Lakers and Nets at one point were negotiating a swap involving Irving and point guard Russell Westbrook, who is set to make $47.1 million this season.

Buha noted that before James agreed to his extension, there was a fear he might try to pressure the Lakers to make a move, but those feelings were alleviated Wednesday:

"There was a belief among some that James might refrain from signing the extension quickly as a leverage play. James could’ve twisted the Lakers’ proverbial arm, applying pressure to make a trade, similar to the way he has operated in the past. Instead, he committed for at least the next two seasons, regardless of if the Lakers trade Russell Westbrook or how they fare this season."

While a trade for Irving doesn't appear imminent, it's not a surprise that James is focused on improving the Lakers. Los Angeles fell short of the playoffs last season after finishing with a disappointing 33-49 record. The team hired Darvin Ham as its new head coach, but the core of the roster remained the same, as there weren't many notable free-agent additions.

James and the Lakers will look to get the season started on the right foot when they open the 2022-23 campaign on Oct. 18 against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

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