LeBron James, Jeanie Buss Meeting Changed Lakers’ Fortunes

LeBron James, Jeanie Buss Meeting Changed Lakers’ Fortunes

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently eight victories away from an NBA championship. Although expectations are sky high now for LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it wasn’t always like this.

And it may not have ever turned out this way if not for a special March 2019 meeting that took place between James, agent Rich Paul, team executive Linda Rambis and team owner Jeanie Buss.

Just a few months earlier, James had signed a four-year, $153.5 million maximum contract with LA. The belief was that he would immediately thrust the team into title contention, but that proved difficult with a young core consisting of Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.

The Lakers needed a superstar to pair with James and offered the New Orleans Pelicans pretty much anyone on their roster in return for Davis. Ultimately, the Pelicans walked away from the negotiations – but not before the process took a sledgehammer to whatever locker room chemistry the Lakers had.

It was a bad time.

Many began to quietly wonder if James had made a mistake coming to LA, and whether he may seek greener pastures sooner than expected.

At that March 2019 meeting, James and Paul sought to soothe any concerns about him causing issues for the franchise.

“We understand that things happen,” Paul said, according to ESPN.

“We’re not pointing the finger at anybody, and we’re going to stay down with you. We’re committed to you and we’ll come out of this on top. We’ll come out of this different than what the world sees. Let the people who talk, talk. We just gotta do the work.”

And doing the work is precisely what they did — both on the court and behind the scenes.

One month after the meeting took place, Magic Johnson stepped down from his role as President of Basketball Operations.

Two months after that, the Lakers sent a package consisting of Ball, Hart, Ingram and three first-round picks to New Orleans for Davis.

After a lot of chatter regarding whether too much or too little was given up by LA, Davis ultimately helped the lead the Lakers to the Western Conference finals in his first season with the organization.

Now he and James are eight victories away from an NBA championship.

If nothing else, James’ willingness to meet with Buss back in March 2019 spoke to how much he wanted his time with the Lakers to work out.

That dedication has paid off – big time.

The Lakers will square off against the Denver Nuggets in the first game of the Western Conference Finals this Friday. Tip off is scheduled for 6:00 pm PT and the game will air on TNT.

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Carlos Garcia

A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.

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