LeBron James isn’t going anywhere.
James’ agent, Rich Paul, declared that James hasn’t asked for a trade nor will be he traded after a rumor surfaced stating James will be dealt before Thursday’s deadline.
“LeBron won’t be traded, and we aren’t asking to be,” Paul told ESPN.
With the Lakers just 25-25 and seemingly not contending for a title this season, speculation has risen about James’ immediate future with the franchise.
James himself may have stoked the flames when he tweeted an hourglass after the Lakers lost to the Hawks on Tuesday to drop below .500.
The idea of James being traded then intensified further when KTLA reporter David Pingalore, who has a strong track record with James news, tweeted that the Lakers are considering moving James.
“Hearing from @nba peeps @KingJames is the top of the @Lakers list to trade the 39 year old. Pelinka is looking for the right team to dance with and is close to a suitor,” Pingalore said.
While Pingalore isn’t a national name, he correctly reported that James was looking into a return to the Cavaliers after his stint in Miami, that James would sign with the Lakers and that Kawhi Leonard would land with the Clippers, as chronicled by Awful Announcing.
The one caveat is that Pingalore did not say a trade would be definite, although the “close to a suitor” line indicates James may have been on the move soon.
But Paul, a respected NBA agent, coming out and publicly shooting down the rumor makes it seem the Lakers will try to salvage the season rather than rebuild.
The Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference after Thursday’s stunning upset of the Celtics in Boston sans James and Anthony Davis, and could be a scary team should everything come together.
James is averaging 24.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game, and has a $51.4 million player option for next season.
He has already stated his desire to play with his son, Bronny, who is eligible for the NBA draft but may need another year of college seasoning since he’s averaging just 5.6 points and 2.8 rebounds for USC.