Trouble already brewing between LeBron James, JJ Redick and the Los Angeles Lakers?

LeBron James and JJ Redick could already be split over the direction of the Los Angeles Lakers' roster

Los Angeles Lakers' JJ Redick
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James apparently played no role in their decision to hire head coach JJ Redick. It’s somewhat surprising given his hands-on approach in the past.

But for King James, he wanted the Lakers to do best for the organization long-term. That is to say, once he ends up retiring.

The obvious backdrop here is James’ contract option for next season. He’s almost guaranteed to decline said option and could hit NBA free agency. While James will likely return to the Lakers, it’s no secret that he’s pushing for upgrades to a roster that is not championship caliber.

During his introductory press conference, Redick was asked about his stance regarding the Lakers’ roster. He firmly believes that they are not too off from being able to compete for a championship.

Apparently, this did not sit too well with both James and fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis.

Sam Amick of The Athletic had this to relay on Jovan Buha’s recent podcast on Tuesday. It’s some rather interesting stuff.

“My understanding is that they (James, Davis) seem to see it differently, Amick noted. “They just want to know that the franchise is pushing as hard as possible to get something done.”

The central focus of the conversation was Donovan Mitchell, Dejounte Murray, Mikal Bridges and Zach LaVine as specific players mentioned James might be pushing for. Now that Bridges is headed to the New York Knicks, he is no longer an option.

But the overall point stands.

Related: LeBron James agent tries to quiet rumors he’s leaving this summer

Could we already be seeing a divide between LeBron James and JJ Redick in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s put this into perspective some. Redick has been in the media ever since he retired from the NBA back in 2021. He knows how to play the game. Showing desperation with NBA free agency and the offseason getting going is not the best of plays.

But his words were pretty darn clear during Monday’s intro presser.

“I don’t look at the current roster as being that far off from a championship-caliber team,” Redick told reporters.

Los Angeles made it out of the NBA Play-In Tournament this past season, only to lose to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

Outside of James and Davis, there is not a whole heck of a lot on this roster. D’Angelo Russell struggled with consistency. He’s also potentially set to leave in free agency. Austin Reaves saw a downtick in production from what was a breakout 2022-23 campaign. New additions Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish and Christian Wood did very little of substance.

Regardless of what Redick said in his press conference, there has to be a belief from the Lakers’ brass that an upgrade is needed this summer. Finding backcourt help in the form of a third star would be the ideal scenario.

It’s in this that the Lakers continue to be linked to some of the biggest names on the trade block. They have Reaves, multiple first-round picks and salary fillers to help facilitate a trade.

Read more: Ranking LeBron James among the NBA’s best players

Whether general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. decide to go all in for King James remains to be seen. Los Angeles’ brass had opted against this at each of the past two in-season NBA trade deadlines.

A continuation of this thought process could lead to further divide between LeBron and the Lakers. It’s not great with James boasting an ability to hit NBA free agency and potentially bolting for another situation.

Then again, James is a veteran. He knows full well how to play this leverage game, too. Don’t think for a second that leaks to the media aren’t part of said game.

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