The Los Angeles Lakers lost their first game out of the All-Star break on Friday night. Their late charge against the Los Angeles Clippers ultimately came up a bit short, and by the time the final buzzer went off, the Clippers moved one win away from a season sweep of their hometown rivals with a 105-102 victory.
The game came on the heels of a drama-filled break for the Lakers, as comments made by LeBron James about his future raised a whole lot of eyebrows on the heels of the team opting to stand pat at the trade deadline. Between openly praising general managers elsewhere in the NBA and in other sports, saying he’d be open to returning to Cleveland, and floating his desire to play alongside his eldest son Bronny to end his career, it became easy to speculate if James was plotting an exit.
Following Saturday’s game, James took some time to address all of these questions, specifically making it a point to say he has no intention of leaving the Lakers any time soon.
“This is a franchise I see myself being with. I’m here. I’m here,” James said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play.”
James went on to address his comments on wanting to play with Bronny, telling the assembled media that “I also have a goal that, if it’s possible — I don’t even know if it’s possible — that if I can play with my son, I would love to do that. Is that, like, something that any man shouldn’t want that in life? That’s like the coolest thing that could possibly happen. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be with this franchise.”
The comments came on the heels of a report that James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka to discuss the comments and say that the former league MVP is committed to bringing a championship back to Los Angeles.