As a lifelong Lakers fan, July 1st, 2018 was the best day for fans in years. Seeing that picture from Klutch Sports Group was like a dream. “LeBron James, four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA finals MVP, fourteen-time NBA All-Star, and two-time Olympic gold medalist has agreed to a four year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Being a kid from Los Angeles, I remember screaming at the top of my lungs when I read that on my phone. I definitely had some high hopes…second round of the playoffs and MAYBE Western Conference Finals if we ’re lucky.
However, this season has failed to live up to the expectations of anyone, fan or player. And yes, I am guilty of losing my cool when we lost what hope we had for the playoffs. In fact, I was so irate that I took to Twitter and slammed Bron for his “playoff mode” statement. Yeah, I was that guy. But I have since calmed down, and LeBron if you just so happen to get wind of this, my bad. Sitting at 31-36 King James and the Lakers are 6.5 games behind the Jazz for the final playoff spot and even LeBron sees a chance at the postseason “slim to none” according to his interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Outside of a somewhat lackluster effort from LeBron at times, his supporting cast is very inconsistent in their play as well. At times, before trade rumors and “playoff mode” being activated, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram were about as consistent as Oklahoma weather…and the only thing consistent about the weather is a tornado or two every year. This team was also 4th in the west before LeBron went down with the first injury of the year for this Lakers team. Lonzo went down shortly thereafter. Among all the other injuries to plague them this year, Brandon Ingram is now the latest with a case of DVT, a serious blood clotting issue that coincidently forced Chris Bosh to retire early.
The effort can be there because the potential is there already. It just seems like we as fans had too high of hopes from the start based the track record of the ones Lakers brass brought in during the offseason, a combined six NBA championships between James, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee is enough to give anyone hope. What we didn’t account for is how long it would take this group to get it figured out. Which there hasn’t been any sign of them doing. In fact, since they began this nightmare-ish backslide, nobody’s seemed to care. Looks like these guys are going through the motions 90% of the time.
For the first time since 2005, James will miss the postseason which in hindsight could prove to be great for this ball club. Its star player will have a full offseason of rest for the first time since he was twenty years old. Also, with 4 expiring contracts, there’s room for sign and trades or just looking for the big splash in free agency come July first. Maybe this was the plan from Magic Johnson and co all along. Either way, I’m sick of losing. With this long summer break – that will see the end of LeBron’s eight straight finals appearances – James can recruit like never before and maybe, finally, put an end to this Lakers drought that has haunted us since 2013. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving are gonna be the biggest names on the market this season and its time to put one or two of them in purple and gold. Los Angeles has always been the Lakers’ city and next season will be the reminder the league needs.