LeBron James on If He's Pushing for Lakers Trades: 'There's Nothing I'm Chasing'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Indiana Pacers in the second half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 5, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 136-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

LeBron James denied he's trying to tear apart the Los Angeles Lakers' young core in order to build a championship contender right now.

"There's nothing I need to get in this league that I don't already have," James said Thursday to reporters, per MassLive.com's John Karalis. "Everything else for me is just like icing on the cake... there's nothing I'm chasing."

James' comments come as the Lakers are attempting to move heaven and earth to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner reported Tuesday that Los Angeles was prepared to trade Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two first-round picks to New Orleans.

According to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans didn't bother to respond to the offer.

Even taking James at his word that he isn't explicitly lobbying for the Lakers to land Davis, his presence puts a level of implicit pressure on the front office to prioritize the short term over the future.

That's why the Cleveland Cavaliers traded No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love in conjunction with his return to the team. The Cavs also reshuffled their roster on multiple occasions in order to position themselves for title contention.

James' age adds another level of urgency for the Lakers. He turned 34 in December, so L.A. can't bank on him continuing to be the NBA's best player for the duration of his four-year, $153.3 million deal.

Because their pursuit of Davis has become public knowledge, the Lakers are potentially facing a difficult dynamic over the remainder of the season.

It's probably not a coincidence the Lakers lost to the Indiana Pacers by 42 points in their last game as the Davis trade rumors reached a fever pitch.

For James—and the Lakers by extension—there's a clear incentive to give the impression he's happy to roll with the current roster, which isn't good enough to challenge the Golden State Warriors for NBA supremacy.

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