LOS ANGELES (AFP) – LeBron James will not be able to give new NBA teammate Anthony Davis his Los Angeles Lakers number 23 jersey because Nike would not approve the move, according to multiple reports Friday.
ESPN and Yahoo Sports, citing unnamed sources, reported that the swap would be delayed because of production and financial issues for Nike.
The apparel and shoe maker would be stuck with tens of millions of dollars in James 23 jerseys, ESPN reported.
The Lakers inquired about the number swap, which James wanted so Davis could keep the number he has worn throughout his NBA career and James would return to a number six jersey as he used when he played for Miami.
The team was told the March 15 deadline for a number change had passed but the league would have approved the request if the manufacturers approved the switch.
Told of Nike’s issues, James decided to postpone the move to avoid a distraction and respect those fans who had already purchased his 23 Lakers jersey.
James would have until March 15, 2020, to put in a number change request for the 2020-21 campaign.
Grateful to OKC
In Washington, Russell Westbrook declared Friday he would be “eternally grateful” to Oklahoma City Thunder supporters while his new NBA Houston Rockets teammate James Harden predicted “a lot of fun” next season.
The comments served to confirm Thursday reports that former NBA Most Valuable Player Westbrook was being traded to the Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul, two first-round NBA Draft picks and a swap of two more future draft selections.