“Try to get younger and fitter around LeBron”

With LeBron James sidelined with ankle pain, the LA Lakers lined up gallantly behind Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook against the Denver Nuggets.

The loss to reigning MVP Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets was the Lakers’ sixth straight loss and has put them firmly in 11th place in the West.

The Lakers’ loss meant they are now two games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the standings. If the Spurs win two of their last four games, LeBron James and the Tinseltown roster will officially face a long summer of uncertainty.

Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal appeared on CBS Sports to share his thoughts on what his former team should do to avoid a repeat of that embarrassing season:

“You have to get rid of the expiring contracts. You need to get rid of the projects that didn’t work. And we’ve got to try and get younger and sportier around LeBron because on paper it was like oooh Westbrook, oooh this and that with everyone making the deal. But you know, age is a factor.”

He added:

“You know, AD has been injured all year. I think he played last night but he has to keep her sane. So you still keep LeBron and AD and then you probably have to, you know, make moves, sniff everyone else.”

“Keep LeBron and AD and make moves for everyone else.” Shaq on the moves the Lakers should be making this offseason👀

The LA Lakers’ disastrous season began as they chased the marquee name Russell Westbrook by trading draft capital, youth, defense and hustle. Putting the triple-double king in the lineup as an off-ball threat to take some of the points burden from LeBron James failed miserably.

They also managed to bond with the former MVP due to his colossal contract. The lack of interest from other teams following Westbrook’s performance this season will only make matters worse.

LeBron recruited Russell Westbrook, urged him to trade for him, vetoed a buddy hold deal that had been approved… and now LeBron is fittingly stuck with Westbrook because the Lakers would inexplicably not throw in a 27er 1st to trade Russ out against John Wall. good luck king

The LA front office, and with the likely approval of LeBron James, added aging superstars to the mix. Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza came in with stellar credentials but sorely lacked the energy, zeal and determination the team needed.

The fact that Austin Reaves, Stanley Johnson, Talen Horton-Tucker and Wenyen Gabriel have all been given more minutes recently was an admission that fresh blood was needed.

LeBron James will always be in “win-now” mode given his age. How the LA Lakers can achieve that with Russell Westbrook’s Albatross contract remains to be seen.

As bad as it looks, LeBron James and the LA Lakers still have a chance to make the play-in

LeBron James' injuries could just be the end of LA Lakers # 039; Season. [Photo: Bleacher Report]
LeBron James’ injuries could spell the end of the LA Lakers’ season. [Photo: Bleacher Report]

The LA Lakers face the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, OKC Thunder and Denver Nuggets at the end of the regular season. Phoenix are already securing home field advantage for the remainder of the playoffs and could rest their best players in the remaining games.

The Golden State Warriors, who have already secured a postseason spot, could also go the way of the Phoenix Suns and prioritize health. OKC is already in the lottery and could just let the season go. The Denver Nuggets, who are doing their best to stay out of the play-in, could be the team to nail the Lakers’ coffin.

Frank Vogel says he’s proud of the Lakers as they near the final straight despite the WL record. He says “it sucks” going through all the defeats, but he believes his group is playing with a “pure spirit” and says “it could be worse” if their attitude were different

None of that matters, however, if the Spurs win two of their last four games. However, San Antonio’s final four games are also as tough as they come. They will face off against the Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks at the end of the season. With the exception of the Warriors, all three teams will do everything they can to avoid the play-in.

In order for the Spurs to eliminate the Lakers from the playoff picture, San Antonio must have one of the following scenarios: …win 4 games …win 3 games, Lakers go 4-1 …win 2 games, Lakers go 3 -2…win 1 game, Lakers go 2-3…lose all games, Lakers go 1-4

It’s unclear how the next games will play out given the importance of wins. What is clear, however, is that LA’s chance of making the play-in now depends on how other games play out. LeBron James’ ankle and knee injuries will only complicate things further down the line. The Lakers could also just shut down James and Anthony Davis this season to prepare for the next.

If they don’t take drastic action during the summer, they may face the same embarrassing fate when the following season begins. “Try to get younger and fitter around LeBron”

Tom Vazquez

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