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LeBron James spoke publicly about the Jazz-Lakers trade for the first time. Here’s what he said

SHARE LeBron James spoke publicly about the Jazz-Lakers trade for the first time. Here’s what he said

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt, left, and forward LeBron James defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles.

Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

LeBron James played for the first time in eight days on Wednesday night, meaning it was the first time he has played since his Los Angeles Lakers were involved in a three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 120-102, and afterward, James was asked about new teammates D’Angelo Russell (acquired from the Timberwolves), Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt (both acquired from the Jazz), and also spoke about former teammates Russell Westbrook, Damian Jones and Juan Toscano-Anderson (all acquired by the Jazz).

“I think our skill sets all kind of fit each other,” James said of Los Angeles’ new acquisitions. “With (Vanderbilt) and (Russell) and (Beasley), three guys that just know how to play the game.

“We’re all just trying to get the ball poppin’, get the ball movin’, have equal opportunity and everyone’s trying to play to their advantage out on the floor.”

James went on to talk about his former teammates who are now with the Jazz, as well as other players who were traded and acquired in additional deals.

“First of all, shout out and salute the guys that left. ... We all started the season together and tried to work together to make some things happen and be the best that we could on the floor, so I salute those guys and their commitment to us trying to be as good as we could be on the floor,” James said.

“Right now, I like the guys that we have coming in. I mean, it’s going to take some time for us to get to know one another, but I know they play the game at a high level.”

Of Beasley, James said, “Obviously we have a laser in Malik that we just never had this season, or a guy, no matter if he’s on the floor, no matter if he’s making or not, you have to respect him because of his ability to shoot the ball.

“He has kind of that JR Smith feeling to him that he could miss 10 in a row and make 10 in a row right after that.”

Of Vanderbilt, James said, “Vando’s a Swiss Army knife. He can do a little bit of everything. His defensive ability, his offensive rebounding ability, you saw tonight.”

The Lakers enter the NBA All-Star Game break with a record of 27-32 and are two games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for 10th place in the Western Conference, the last spot in the playoff play-in tournament race.