In late February, the Lakers are at the top of the basketball headlines today. Only, it's not for the reason they imagined it would be.
The 2018/19 campaign has quickly spiraled out of control in all the wrong ways. After a 20-14 start, LeBron James went down with a groin injury, and the team's record went plummeting. By the time James returned, not only was he not quite himself, but the team was dealing with the consequences of the Anthony Davis trade rumors. It was these rumors that many suspects damned the team. Since then, they have yet to put together a good stretch of basketball.
“We talked about this since Christmas, and once the trade rumors became something for public consumption, it tore the Lakers’ locker room apart,” said ESPN's Jalen Rose on Get Up! “Of course the players are going to out and compete, because they’re professionals, but you got to start paying attention to the name on the back of the jersey, because now all of a sudden — am I renting? am I leasing? am I going to be here?
"These guys are willing to trade five of us for one player. That fractured their locker room, they’re 9-16 since that point and like I said then — not because LeBron isn’t terrific and everybody fell back on the crutch — ‘oh, they’re gonna make the playoffs just because they have LeBron…’ They’re not gonna make the playoffs because they’re in the West and it’s a lot tougher this year.”
After their latest loss, the Lakers are sitting a full 3 games back from the 8th seeded Spurs, with a record of 29-31. If they are to make the postseason, they'd have to beat out the Spurs, Timberwolves, and Kings.
Despite some high statistical numbers from their best players, they don't look capable of accomplishing such a feat right now.
It may be a bad fit or a cold streak, but nothing was the same after the A.D. trade news became public... and is that really just a coincidence?