LeBron James laments the lack of talent around Aaron Rodgers, but it sure sounds like he’s talking to the Lakers

LeBron James spends more time speaking in front of the camera than perhaps any other athlete in the world, and from time to time he takes advantage of those opportunities to make pointers to his front office about things he might like. As the Los Angeles Lakers stumbled to a 3-10 start, those cues have become less subtle.

The Lakers have spent the past few months looking for a trade with Russell Westbrook, but their inability to find one stems from their reluctance to put their two available first-round picks in a deal in 2027 and 2029. Instead, the Lakers have emphasized preserving space for the 2023 off-season cap. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report recently reported that James “doesn’t want to waste a season of his top-flight games hoping for reinforcements for the 2023-24 season”. While James didn’t say as much directly as he hosted an alternate broadcast of Thursday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, he did chime in on a similarly aging but legendary player in the same position. Not surprisingly, he pushed the Packers to go all out with Rodgers.

“When you have a transcendent franchise player like Aaron Rodgers. A quarterback, of course we know that quarterback position in the NFL, plus if you have a monster defensive end or D tackle, like Aaron Donald obviously. That’s the most important position in the NFL. Why wouldn’t you surround that when you have the picks to maximize what he can do? said James. Paul Rivera, who was on the show with James, asked, “Are we still talking about football or are you talking about basketball?” While James said football, he jokingly added that it was “definitely translated.”

The situations Rodgers and James face are not identical. The Lakers are reluctant to give away picks. The Packers actively traded their second-best player to acquire more from them last offseason when they dealt Davante Adams to the Raiders and never replaced him on the depth chart. Rodgers was reportedly frustrated with the team’s refusal to use a first-round pick at a wide receiver in recent years. One of those picks was used on another quarterback, Jordan Love.

In theory, the Packers could use some of their draft funds to trade for a replacement for Adams. Such trades were relatively common in the last offseason when Adams, Tyreek Hill, AJ Brown and Marquise Brown were all dealt to first round players. However, in all of NFL history, teams rarely want to give away their best receivers. Even if they did, the Packers pay Rodgers so much that it would be difficult to include a top receiver in their salary cap without eviscerating the rest of the roster. The Adams trade was about redistributing immediate resources as much as stockpiling picks.

That’s not the case with the Lakers. These picks are purely future assets. James is dealing with the here and now and has made his feelings towards the picks clear. When the Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl a year ago, their general manager, Les Snead, wore a t-shirt that read “f*** them picks” to the parade. James continued to praise him Twitter say “LEGEND! My type of guy!!” The Packers may be really trying to give Rodgers the best possible chance of winning this season. As long as the Lakers hold those picks, James doesn’t.

Both James and Rodgers are nearing the end of their historic careers. Both are keen to add more championships to their resumes before that time comes. When James thinks so hard about how the Packers are building around Rodgers, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t feel the same way about the Lakers.

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