Lakers Rumors: LeBron James 'Will Never' Wear Clippers JerseyMarch 21, 2019
LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason on a four-year, $153.3 million deal, so the odds of him playing anywhere else for the rest of his career are slim to none.
And apparently, the chances of him ever playing for the Los Angeles Clippers fall squarely in the "none" category.
"I was told by LeBron's camp: He will never wear a Clippers jersey," ESPN's Dave McMenamin said on The Jump on Thursday.
It's fair to question whether James picked the right Los Angeles franchise, however. The Clippers (42-30), barring an unprecedented meltdown, are heading to the playoffs. The Lakers (31-40) are not.
The Clippers have made a number of savvy personnel moves in recent seasons, led by committed owner Steve Ballmer and a front office that includes consultant Jerry West and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank. Those moves have freed up nearly two max slots for this summer, while keeping or adding solid role players like Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and Landry Shamet.
The Clippers will have a very nice supporting cast in place for any free agents this summer to join.
The Lakers, meanwhile, have been something of a circus and made a number of odd offseason additions that didn't appear to complement the existing pieces, choosing ball-handlers like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson rather than surrounding James and Lonzo Ball with shooters.
The Lakers could use their young assets to swing a deal for a star, and they'll have cap space as well. But the Lakers have struck out seeking All-Stars via trade (Anthony Davis) and free agency (Paul George), and it's fair to question if they'll have any luck surrounding James with another star or two this summer.
And then there was a report from ESPN's Michael Wilbon that Doc Rivers was advised to steer clear of the Lakers and the possibility of coaching James amid rumors that Rivers could jump ship to the Lakers this offseason.
"There are people in Southern California right in that environment telling Doc, 'You don't want do this.' And one of those reasons is simply LeBron James," Wilbon reported (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). "He's been told by people—and I know this—LeBron doesn’t want to be coached."
The Lakers have James and an incredible history. But heading into an offseason featuring a large swath of superstar free agents, there's a strong argument to be made that it's the Clippers that can offer those players a more functional organization and better path to an NBA title.