Pacific Notes: LeBron, R. Jackson, Ayton, Dozier

LeBron James is disputing the nature of a weekend report by Sam Amick of The Athletic that he’s becoming impatient for Lakers management to upgrade the roster. The story suggests that James was sending a message to the front office with his comments after Saturday’s game, but in a response on Twitter, James said that wasn’t his intention.

“Hey Sam actually my patience isn’t waning,” he wrote. “You make it sound like I’m frustrated when I’m really not. I told you over and over, my job is focused on the guys in the locker room, my job isn’t the roster. That’s the reality of that conversation. And I said what I said with the Upmost respect and calmness cause that’s the mood I’m in! Your welcome! 5 game winning streak.”

While L.A. has climbed back into the playoff race with its recent hot streak, speculation is starting to build around the league that James may want to finish his career somewhere else, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy. Executives have told Deveney that multiple teams are preparing for the possibility that James will try to force a trade this summer, if only so they don’t get caught off guard like they did with Kevin Durant‘s trade request last year.

One executive tells Deveney that the Lakers are hoping to get through this season without trading their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 and then use their cap room, which could top $30MM, to acquire free agents who would appeal to James, such as Kyrie Irving or Draymond Green. If that doesn’t happen, league executives see the Cavaliers, Heat and Suns as the most likely destinations if James does force his way out.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Coach Tyronn Lue tinkered with the lineup as the Clippers dropped their sixth straight game on Sunday night, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Reggie Jackson, who has been the starting point guard for the past two-plus seasons, played just eight minutes, all in the first half, as Lue turned to Terance Mann to improve the team’s defense. Lue explained that the change isn’t necessarily permanent. “No, I just think tonight it was Reggie,” he said. “Then tomorrow, it could be somebody else. Just kind of experimenting with different things. When you lose five games in a row, you want to try some different things.”
  • The Suns were missing four rotation players due to injuries as they fell below .500 Sunday night, so Deandre Ayton is determined to keep playing despite tweaking his left ankle late in the game, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I finished the jump hook and my left leg just drifted off behind me and twisted it. So it feels like it’s a day-by-day thing,” Ayton said. “No ankle is stopping me right now. I’m on a mission so I’m going to be up on my feet. No worries about that.”
  • Coach Mike Brown was upset about the Kings‘ defense in Saturday’s loss to the Lakers, and the team sees potential help in PJ Dozier, who’s expected to sign a 10-day contract, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.
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