LeBron James clearly can’t lead the Lakers like he led the Cavs before

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers were blessed to receive eleven years of LeBron James, including his last four seasons with the squad. However, it doesn’t appear that the Los Angeles Lakers would consider themselves lucky right now.

LeBron James made the move to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers this past summer for the Los Angeles Lakers, signing a four-year deal in the process. It was a move that most saw coming and was prepared for.

Despite the long-term contract and James claiming he’s ready to continue his excellence on the basketball court with the Lakers, not everyone is on board.

Why is that?

When James was a member of the Wine and Gold, he had the chance to call a lot of the shots. While David Griffin served as the general manager for three of the four seasons, James had a say in what moves he’d like to be made to help the franchise reach the ultimate goal of winning an NBA Championship.

It worked out in 2016 against all the odds stacked against them. That includes a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

James also had leeway to bring up how the team was performing in a critical manner without much backlash. It was taken as a positive side that comes with his leadership ability. Calling out the effort or play was something Cleveland just grew used to and allowed for it to motivate them.

As Sporting News’ Sean Deveney recently pointed out, that’s not been the case in Los Angeles, not one bit.

With the move to California came all of the news of everything James was doing off of the court. Movies and television specials seemed to be brought to the forefront as a slight that James wasn’t simply becoming a Laker to be a member of the organization. No, it was thought that he was there to ready himself for life after the game.

That was all fine and dandy until LeBron reportedly went down 34 games into the campaign, leaving the Lakers with a 20-14 record when he exited for an extended period of time. While he was out, rumors of an Anthony Davis trade circulated and made its way to the center of the league’s headlines.

Those talks included nearly every young player on the roster and it was well-known.

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Now for those thinking that LeBron has a hand in making decisions in Los Angeles, this didn’t sit well.

How could a team go from seemingly meshing with the greatest player in the game along with a young core to falling out of playoff chats within a month span? I’ll tell you that that trade did the trick.

So not only are the players around James frustrated that maybe the organization didn’t want them but they’ve also been frustrated with his comments following losses.

After a loss against the Memphis Grizzlies last week, James questioned the roster’s dedication in the midst of a playoff run (per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin). The comments were obviously viewed as hypocritical considering James’ busy schedule outside of the lines. Of course, no one takes their heart being questioned very well.

James seemed to clear the air after this weekend in which he went into detail about how he felt that this team needs to be ready for the playoffs or they’re in the wrong setting. He apparently likes where they are now as a unit.

Did that happen overnight? Or is James just trying to quiet down the outside noise that’s casting down on him and his team?

Times like these would usually pass over in Cleveland due to the national media not always being involved with the Cavaliers. But James is under the biggest spotlight in the NBA and plans of trying to escape the heat won’t work here.

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For now, we wait and see if the Lakers make the playoffs. With the situation they’re currently in (three games outside of the Western Conference’s eighth and final postseason spot), it may not happen. Then we’ll find out how LeBron really feels about the roster in the offseason, especially with another crack at Anthony Davis on the horizon.

Lights, camera, action.