Pelicans’ forward Brandon Ingram stopped by The Old Man & The Three podcast with JJ Redick, and they asked him about his time with the Lakers. It doesn’t take a genius to see it was toxic, but Ingram explained why all the young players hated it.
“I know other guys around me. It killed them every day. When you wake up and you see your name on Twitter. The guys around me, they love Twitter. They love searching. Putting in their names,” Ingram said. “The energy was totally off. It didn’t seem like anybody wanted to play anything. It was a whirlwind.”
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the young players LeBron saw as trade pieces weren’t comfortable. They shouldn’t have felt any type of security because there was none. Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball were all playing to boost their value, while the Lakers’ front office hoped to grab the assets that LeBron wanted to replace them.
Maybe we should be asking if this is a generational issue with a “social media” mentality? Perhaps coaches and veteran players need to be teaching young up-and-comers that it’s a bad idea to survey Twitter for job approval. If you click on a “Kyle Kuzma” trend after a garbage performance, you already know what comes next: “Trade Kuzma, Kuzma sucks,” or “We can get (fill in the blank) instead of Kuzma.”
Negativity over the internet is like clockwork, so young players seeking validation on the internet is the issue, not LeBron.
Could LeBron have fixed this?
Yes, but he didn’t want to. It’s just that simple. Why would he give a hoot about the feelings of Lonzo Ball when he had every intention of trading the entire young core for Anthony Davis? The young players were uncomfortable playing for LeBron because LeBron never wanted them. All the players that ended up in that mega-deal with New Orleans were nothing more than trade pawns with tattoos from the start.
Their panic and frustration is understandable, but the NBA is a business.
Regardless of how Brandon Ingram’s tenure with the Lakers went down, he should probably chill out on the talks about the past. Getting traded to New Orleans ended up being the best thing for both parties, as the Lakers got that NBA title they desperately needed, while Ingram secured a max contract extension. Kumbaya.