Lakers’ Playoffs Hopes Crumble With LeBron James Expected To Be Sidelined ‘At Least’ Three Weeks

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Placing all your chips on an aging star isn’t the best tactic to win a championship. Regardless, the Los Angeles Lakers have now fallen victim to 38-year-old LeBron James’ durability and were stripped of nearly all hope of reaching a postseason appearance after James suffered a serious tendon issue in his right foot on Sunday.

And don’t count on a miraculous return by LeBron.

LeBron’s Injury Sinks Lakers’ Hopes For Playoffs

According to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, James’ injury will sideline him “indefinitely” and he is set to get re-evaluated in at least three weeks — a make-or-break stretch of basketball for LA.

It’s all doom and gloom in Los Angeles.

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

To set the stage, the Lakers faced a crucial 23-game schedule after the All-Star break.

Sitting at 13th (29-32 record) in a tight Western Conference standings race, the Lakers were tasked with going at least 14-9 in the final stretch to reach a play-in spot or higher seeding.

The Lakers desperately hoped the core veterans and trade deadline additions could coalesce just in time for a late-season run.

Well, those plans came to a screeching halt on Tuesday when James suffered the right foot injury against Memphis, compounding an already tough loss.

Injury Bug Continues To Destroy LA’s Roster

Dealing with an injured D’Angelo Russell and being held hostage by the brittle Anthony Davis’ load management schedule, the short-handed Lakers roster faces the grim challenge of playing the remaining 21 games without their key playmakers.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Getting rid of LeBron was hardly a favorable reality to any team in the NBA. But leading to the 2022-23 season, LeBron James felt more like a novelty item rather than a player that could strongarm a team to the postseason.

Miami / Cleveland LeBron was simply different than the Lakers LeBron, who has been more about his brand than his team’s success.

Nothing represents this idea more than LeBron’s record-breaking night against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 7.

After breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record at the end of the third quarter, LeBron put up just two points in the final period, allowing OKC to win the crucial game.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The night was all about LeBron, partly for good reason. But at the game’s end, Los Angeles found itself another step back in the playoff hunt while the King was all smiles.

Could the Lakers have avoided this dilemma? The answer has to be yes.

Despite climbing to the 11th seed after a surprising win over OKC on Wednesday (without LeBron), the Lakers have no real hope of winning outside James.

Had the Lakers organization sided with the reasonable flank of the fanbase that asked to trade away James or fellow decrepit star AD, the team would have likely been in a more optimistic position than where they currently stand.

The Lakers retained LeBron’s blueprint for success, which included AD. And this is where they stand as a result.

Some extra draft picks in their pocket; a younger squad with more of a drive to win; and one less star that’s too soft (AD) to play a back-to-back … those all sound better than the Lakers’ current predicaments.

Still hanging onto the 2020 Disney Bubble championship, the Lakers organization continued to make LeBron the nucleus of their team, coming off a season in 2022 where he missed his most career games in a year (26).

Will the Lakers and general manager Rob Pelinka learn their lesson after another injury-heavy year for LeBron and AD? Don’t count on it.

Dr. Jerry Buss’ Showtime Lakers feel like a relic as the organization struggles to correct its course based on past mistakes.

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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