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Sports Illustrated

Kyrie Irving Addresses Rumors That LeBron Is “Shadow GM”

In the new era of the NBA, players have more say than ever in roster construction.

It’s no secret that some of the game’s best players have plenty of input on the roster that is put around them. For better or worse, the superstars of the league are often given plenty of credit and more than their share of the blame for the roster’s performance. It’s no longer all put on the general manager for a team’s successes or failures.

This is especially true for LeBron James. He has often been criticized for acting as a “shadow GM,” manipulating the front office into roster moves that may be nearsighted and in the best interest of his friends around the league.

The latest example is last offseason, as James was rumored as the key reason why the Lakers pulled the trigger on bringing his pal Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles instead of other roster moves that were rumored to include a trade package that would have brought three-point stalwart Buddy Hield to the Lakers from the Kings.

The result was a disaster for the Lakers, as Westbrook never jelled offensively with his close friend James and fellow superstar Anthony Davis. 

Are the rumors true? Could it be possible that James really was the catalyst for some catastrophic roster moves for the Lakers?

His former teammate Kyrie Irving spoke on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast to discuss the rumors surrounding James and their time together in Cleveland.

“Yeah Bron was behind the scenes…what’s his nickname? LeGM?” Irving asked Brandon Marshall and LeSean McCoy.

With the two former NFL stars laughing, insisting that James put Cleveland’s star teams together, Irving finally admitted that James put the roster together.

“He put the squad together! I wasn’t mad at him…I was like ‘Alright, bet. This is how it goes.’”

If James continues to demand the kind of impact on the roster that has come to be expected over his time in the NBA, he’ll have a lot of work to do this offseason with general manager Rob Pelinka as the Lakers look to return to their winning ways.