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Los Angeles Lakers’ front office divided over going all-in with LeBron James in 2022-’23

Matt Johnson
Los Angeles Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2022-’23 NBA season viewed as a fringe playoff contender with a barren roster outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Sitting near the bottom of the NBA standings in November, things are even worse than expected.

Los Angeles explored multiple win-now moves this summer, engaging in trade negotiations with the Utah Jazz, Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers. However, the Lakers were reluctant to move their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, the only valuable trade assets they had.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers receiving interest in Russell Westbrook trade

There are still options on the table for Rob Pelinka to explore. The team’s president of baseball operations made it clear that a key part of his role is supporting James’ legacy and that means exploring moves to help this season.

While that might be Pelinka’s vision, it reportedly isn’t shared by the entire organization. Sinking further down the standings with the second-worst point differential (-8.4) in the NBA, there seems to be some division in Los Angeles.

According to Chris Haynes of Bleach Report, the Lakers are evaluating a pivotal decision that will shape the franchise for years to come. While some want to make aggressive moves to build a better team around James, that isn’t a consensus vision within the organization.

Currently, the Lakers’ front office is unwilling to trade its future first-round picks based on the current trajectory of the team. There is division about whether acquiring Buddy Hield and Myles Turner would even move the needle for Los Angeles to become a threat in the Western Conference.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers won’t trade first-round picks

Many believe that sacrificing the limited assets they have would damage the Lakers’ future and it’s not a justifiable cost even if it makes James happier.

Not only would it create issues with James, but inactivity at the NBA trade deadline would also reportedly cause issues with key players in the locker room, creating a greater divide between the on-court talent and the front office.

For now, the Lakers aren’t poised to move in either direction. The future first-round picks aren’t currently on the table and the franchise isn’t entertaining the possibility of an Anthony Davis trade. Based on the direction things are headed, though, Los Angeles seems to be thinking more about a future without James.