Lakers Rumors: LeBron James' Camp Concerned Drama Could 'Sabotage' Free Agency

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Friday, March 22, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Nets won 111-106. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to add at least one big-name free agent this offseason, but LeBron James' camp is reportedly worried that their recent dysfunction could prevent them from landing any superstars.

"Sources close to LeBron James expressed concern that the combination of Magic’s messy exit and all the negative Lakers headlines threatened to sabotage their summer," Sam Amick of The Athletic reported.

Team president Magic Johnson abruptly resigned at the end of the season, failing to inform owner Jeanie Buss or general manager Rob Pelinka before announcing his decision publicly.

Johnson created more negative headlines about the Lakers on Monday when he appeared on ESPN's First Take and said Pelinka had been "backstabbing" him:

Meanwhile, the Lakers struggled to find a new head coach after firing Luke Walton.

Tyronn Lue appeared set to replace Walton, but talks ended without a deal after the team offered him only a three-year deal, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The two sides also disagreed about the potential inclusion of Jason Kidd on the coaching staff.

The Lakers eventually hired Frank Vogel as head coach and brought Kidd on as an assistant.

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Another issue is Kurt Rambis, who has "assumed an increasingly powerful voice in basketball operations," per Wojnarowski and McMenamin.

The Lakers still have a big draw in James and a young core, but top free agents could prefer to avoid the drama and instead sign with other teams in big markets like the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets.

With a loaded free-agent class that will likely include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and more, the Lakers need to rehabilitate their image in a hurry.

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