49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 25, 2014
49ers notes: Baalke insists team not trying to trade LaMichael James

Trent Baalke today said he may have come across a few tweets that suggest LaMichael James is unhappy with his role with the 49ers but that he isn't interested in trading the running back. Baalke explained James' absence from offseason training at the same facility by saying that James recently had his first baby and that he is remaining in Texas to "settle into life" with the new child.

"If a guy's not here, I'm not on the phone asking why he's not here," said Baalke, noting that the current sessions in Santa Clara are voluntary.

The Bee reported this month that the 49ers are very much aware of James' dissatisfaction with his role and that the team is actively trying to trade him. Baalke said he'd be more disappointed in James if he was content with his role on offense, which amounted to 12 carries last regular season. "I'd be disappointed if he wasn't disappointed that he wasn't getting on the field as much as he wanted to," Baalke said. "I'd much more concerned about that than his frustration of not playing."

Of course, Baalke wouldn't let on that he is trying to trade James, just as he refused to say he was trying to trade quarterback Alex Smith just before completing a deal with the Chiefs last year. Players who express discontent on the 49ers - such as receiver Braylon Edwards or running back Brandon Jacobs - typically have not remained on the team for very long.

James, meanwhile, has been open about his dissatisfaction in San Francisco. Immediately after The Bee's report was published, he wrote on Twitter, "When old news becomes new news." He also retweeted a message from a fan that read, "I was really hoping they would use ur talent instead of give it away. It's just stupid."

Et cetera - Baalke said he didn't expect that the Miami police investigation that includes Colin Kaepernick would alter the team's ongoing contract negotiations with the quarterback. But he said the nature of those negotiations is that they can take a long time. "They're long, they're drawn out, they can be tedious," he said.

* Mike Iupati is making good progress from a broken leg suffered in the NFC Championship, Baalke said, but it hasn't been determined when he will return to the practice field. Joe Looney could fill in at left guard if Iupati is not ready for OTAs and minicamps.

* Said Baalke of his relationship with Jim Harbaugh: "It couldn't be better right now." But don't expect to see the two men hugging. "If you want us to hug and mug for the camera ... you're looking at the wrong two guys," said the famously gruff general manager.

* Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs signed his one-year restricted free-agent tender Friday. Dobbs backed up Justin Smith the last two years.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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