LeBron James' groin injury is what started the beginning of the end for the Lakers, who now sit destined to miss a postseason berth. Despite optimism going into a big summer of free agency and potential trade deals, there is also a growing concern both by the team and by LeBron himself that his health may not hold up through the rest of his tenure.
The scenario has left this question for the 34-year-old: Is this season an outlier, or will it be the new normal?
Is this season health-related, age-related or interest-level related? Bits of all three? Is this just like James’ relatively underwhelming first years in Miami and back in Cleveland, or his Michael Jordan in Washington years?
These are questions sometimes being asked within the Lakers organization, within James’ own support team and even by James himself.
At 34-years-old, James is about due for a sharp decline in his athletic performance. This season may very well have been the start of that decline.
Then again, how much of a "down" year can we consider a season in which he averaged 27, 8, and 8? For LeBron and the Laker,s next season will be more than just about redeeming themselves. It will also be about seeing how much of the old, unstoppable LeBron is still left in the tank, and if he is still capable of carrying the team to title contention.