But it’s also why the Lakers assembled the oldest roster in NBA history this past offseason. Many of the players who entered the year with the Lakers — Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, DeAndre Jordan, etc. — were approved by James.
It didn’t go so well. Instead of flourishing, the Lakers floundered, missing the play-in tournament and becoming this season’s biggest bust.
So James indicating he’s staying away from the roster decisions this summer.
“It’s not my decision to sit here and say, ‘Well, this is what we should bring back and have on the roster,'” James told reporters, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “That would be the front office’s decision. And obviously they may ask my input, but at the end of the day, they’ll make the decision they feel that best suits this franchise going forward.”
The Lakers have already made one major move, parting ways with coach Frank Vogel. They hope to change some of the men in uniform as well. Without a doubt, Westbrook is on that list.
“I think the front office will do whatever it takes to help this ball club become a better ball club from top to bottom,” James said. “Ask me my opinion, I’m going to give my opinion. But they’re going to make the decision that they feel is best for the franchise.”
GM Rob Pelinka has indeed allowed input from James and agent Rich Paul in the past. The trade for Westbrook no doubt received the stamp of approval from all involved.
And while James offered support for Westbrook during the exit interviews, he didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement on the idea of bringing back the entire roster.
“One thing about Russ that I love and will always love is just his competitive spirit, what he brings to the game every single night,” James said. “And when you’re in a profession where so many injuries happen and so many things go on and to have a guy that’s reliable and can put on a uniform every single night, that’s something that I respect.
“I’m not going to sit here and make decisions for the front office and things of that nature, but I love being a teammate of Russ.”