So far this season, the Lakers have had to overcome injuries, a bad roster, a rookie head coach, the weird vibes that come with the will-they-won’t-they trade Russell Westbrook fiasco, one of the worst shooting stretches in the history of the sport and somehow still find themselves right there, fighting for a play-in spot.
Honestly, that they sit within a game of that 10th seed and only a couple games from the six seed is a testament to the mediocrity that defines the Western Conference and also the competitive nature on this team. At several points this season, the Lakers could’ve looked at the uphill climb ahead of them and called it quits. All they’d be doing is following the example set by their front office.
To their credit, they haven’t. So when will that front office meet them halfway? Seems like a fair question and an altogether fair demand from LeBron James, even if he walks back the sentiment anytime he’s linked to it.
Of course James is frustrated. At age 38, he’s on pace for yet another All-NBA caliber season, his Vice President of Basketball Operations has been more focused on blaming him for the Russell Westbrook trade than trying to fix it, his co-star can’t stay on the court and there still isn’t any real clarity on if Space Jam 3 is going to be made.
James has been lashing out all season but his pleas appear to be falling on deaf ears in an organization that usually prides itself on its treatment of stars. You’d think they’d do whatever they could for the guy who singlehandedly brought the Lakers back from the irrelevance of the 2010s but here we are.
The NBA’s trade deadline is almost exactly a month away yet trade rumors around the Lakers has died down considerably since Anthony Davis’ injury. Fortunately, optimism remains that he can return this season and the damage might not be insurmountable when he does, so long as Pelinka and the front office ever show any actual interest in doing so.
To discuss all that, this week on “The Anthony Irwin Show,” I welcomed Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated to discuss the piece he wrote on the Lakers wasting James last year and potentially repeating that offense this season. We also touched on the league-wide response to how the Lakers have handled all this and the long-term ramifications of not committing to winning — or waiting too long to do so.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.