LeBron James is not happy with Michael Malone.
LeBron James, the superstar of the Los Angeles Lakers, is typically seen as self-motivated, but it never hurts to have some additional motivation from an outside source.
According to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, James is furious with Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone for complaining about too much media attention on the Lakers and taking jabs at James in the process.
Robinson suggests that this criticism from Malone has become one of the many motivators for James heading into the upcoming season. Robinson also dismisses James’ suggestion of retiring this summer, stating that it was merely a frustration expressed in the heat of the moment after a game.
Sources within the Lakers organization and others close to James have informed Robinson that he will indeed be returning to the Lakers next season and will be highly motivated.
“In conversations with people…I can tell you that LeBron was very pissed with what Michael Malone said about him, and from folks I have spoken with, that he is one of the many motivators going into this season.”
“Also the conversation about him retiring was in the moment, and after playing the game and losing, he was very frustrated,” said Robinson. “But from folks that I have spoken with within the Lakers organization and those who know, they shared with me that you will see LeBron back in the fall and a very motivated LeBron going into the season.”
LeBron is reportedly “pissed” at Michael Malone and will use next season as motivation.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) June 29, 2023
Throughout the season, James played exceptional basketball. However, he had to shoulder a heavier burden later in the season due to Anthony Davis’ injury, which put significant pressure on him to keep the team afloat. James also dealt with ongoing foot issues, including a tendon injury in his right foot in late February.
Despite his setbacks and occasional decline in the playoffs, it is not difficult to envision James returning to peak performance if his feet fully heal by training camp, although he will be turning 39 years old in late December.
The Lakers’ fortunes turned around with several midseason trades that brought in Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Mo Bamba. Russell particularly relieved pressure on James by handling the ball and facilitating, while Hachimura provided scoring in James’ absence.
Both Russell and Hachimura are set to become free agents, and Lakers’ executive Rob Pelinka has expressed a desire to retain them, along with guard Austin Reaves, in order to maintain the team’s core.