Agent Rich Paul says idea LeBron leaves Lakers “ridiculous,” “totally false”


Despite his passive-aggressive moves clearly intended to put pressure on the Lakers’ front office heading into next offseason, few around the league think LeBron is leaving the Lakers. He set up his post-playing life in the city, it’s where his kids go to high school, where his movie/television production company is located, and he’s said he wants to close out his career as a Laker. LeBron is just trying to impose his will on the franchise like he did in Cleveland.

Now enter his agent Rich Paul playing good cop.

Paul spoke to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who went on The Pat McAfee Show yesterday and delivered the message LeBron isn’t leaving L.A. (hat tip the Basketball Network).

“I spoke to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and he said that talk in itself is ridiculous and it’s totally false. LeBron James isn’t leaving the Lakers, he’s going to be on the Lakers. The question is: how can the Lakers get better? That’s why I’ve heard they have been active in the trade market.”

LeBron is playing games, making sure the Lakers do everything they can this offseason to upgrade the roster — which likely includes trading Russell Westbrook. Somewhere.

It needs to be stated — again — if LeBron wants to blame someone for the state of the Lakers’ roster, he needs to find a mirror. The Lakers could have gone ahead with the trade for Kings’ sharpshooter Buddy Hield, which would have let them keep Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and maybe re-sign Alex Caruso. Pelinka and the Lakers were following the road map that won them a title in 2020 — put shooting and defense around LeBron and Anthony Davis — but LeBron wanted and pushed for a third star, specifically Westbrook, and here we are.

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Lakers GM Rob Pelinka needs to be active on the trade market this offseason, although turning Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves plus the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks into a significant roster overhaul is far from simple. The Lakers benefit from players wanting to be in Los Angeles and play with LeBron, and they are going to need every advantage to turn that roster around.

In the meantime, we have a couple more months of LeBron and company playing out this season, then trying to get out of the play-in tournament they are headed for.

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Agent Rich Paul says idea LeBron leaves Lakers “ridiculous,” “totally false” originally appeared on

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