After missing 17 games with a groin strain injury, LeBron James finally returned to the Los Angeles Lakers starting lineup against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In what turned out to be an exciting game, the Lakers managed to defeat the Clippers, 123-120. James finished with a near triple-double as he finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds, and nine assists.
With their 27th win of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Lakers are only one game out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference. However, Los Angeles could very well receive a major boost given they are in trade discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
Following his return, James did not have much to say about a possible trade for Davis, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
“There ain’t nothing to talk about,” James told McMenamin when asked about the uncertainty some in the locker room could feel. “That ain’t nothing but fantasy basketball until something happens. We’ll see what happens.”
James made headlines earlier in the season when he said he would love the opportunity to play with Davis. The two All-Star players share agent Rich Paul and it has long been reported the plan has been to pair them in Los Angeles.
So far, the Pelicans have shown no inclination to trade Davis to the Lakers given the timing of his trade request as well as the fact that other teams could make better offers once the offseason begins. The whole saga has seemingly had its impact in the locker room as the trade rumors are reportedly ‘weighing heavily’ on the young core.
With only a few days left to go until the Feb. 7 deadline, the Lakers should be doing whatever it takes to try and land Davis. Acquiring the five-time All-Star not only increases their chances of making a deep playoff run this season but also solidifies the state of the franchise going forward.