Rumors suggest Lakers might finally get smart and ignore a common LeBron problem

The Lakers and LeBron James may not want the same thing in their roster build.  
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers must improve their roster this summer. Being dominated by the Nuggets two years in a row coupled with a first-round playoff exit should force the franchise to evaluate everything. Some talent will be on their way out, and the pressure is on to build a contender around LeBron James now.

The GOAT turns 40 later this year and does not have many years of elite play left. He has a $51.4 million player option for next season. The Lakers must keep him and are reportedly interested in working out a three-year max contract (subscription required). They need to add talent around him too. Anthony Davis is locked in, but how does LA build out the rest of their roster?

Fans are already hearing the rumors. Trae Young continues to be linked to the Lakers. Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving, and other stars also pop up in the rumor mill. The front office traded for Russell Westbrook in 2021, and it turned into a disaster. Recent reports suggest the Lakers want to avoid a repeat, but can they?

Lakers against adding 3rd star to their roster

Jovan Buha discussed the team’s summer planning on the May 2 episode of The Athletic’s NBA Show. See his quote below.

"The Lakers have pushed back in recent weeks and months on the notion of going down the three-star build path, so we'll see how that all shakes out. I think LeBron James will have a say in that."

Rob Pelinka and the front office went for depth at the 2023 trade deadline and it helped them turn their season around. The Lakers surprisingly reached the conference finals with a deep group playing well together. They only had two stars when they won the championship in the bubble, but LeBron and AD were supported by a strong cast of role players. That model has proven successful, but King James likely has other ideas.

LeBron James prefers having 2 co-stars

LeBron pushed for the Lakers to add a third star when they acquired Westbrook. He had success using that formula in Miami and Cleveland, but it has not worked in LA.

Acquiring a third star will gut an already shallow team. The Lakers had nowhere to turn in their first-round playoff series against Denver. If they have to trade Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves to get a third star, their head coach will be stuck playing his starting five every minute in the playoffs.

Los Angeles cannot rely on minimum signings to play massive minutes. It has not worked. They need players like Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Alex Caruso filling roles like they did on their 2020 title team.

There will likely be a power struggle this offseason. Does LeBron James win out and convince the Lakers to acquire a third star? The franchise must keep him happy, but should not do it over building a contending roster. Adding two or three quality pieces won’t be easy, but is LA’s easiest path to title contention.

LeBron James often gets what he wants. He certainly desires more talent around him and Anthony Davis. Do the Los Angeles Lakers add a third star like Trae Young? It would be a mistake, but fans may finally get to see who is calling the shots in LA.