The Los Angeles Lakers are floundering toward missing the playoffs for the second time with LeBron James. The ongoing struggles suggest an offseason of significant change ahead to put the franchise back on track as an NBA title contender.
The reconstructed roster hasn’t performed anywhere near the high expectations, pushing the front office into another challenging spot. Beyond that, it underlines the “organizational fatigue” that comes with having the star forward.
Lakers heading toward a disastrous fate
After experiencing another busy offseason, the Lakers hoped that would translate toward returning to NBA title contention.
Instead, Los Angeles is floundering toward missing the play-in tournament entirely. Due to injuries and lackluster overall roster construction, the team has struggled to find consistency.
LeBron James is still playing at an elite level in his 19th campaign, potentially heading toward earning his second scoring title. James remains an ageless wonder, but the rest of the roster hasn’t elevated the team toward even competing for the playoffs.
However, the Lakers’ struggles have fallen into the pattern that all teams eventually experience with James.
Lakers are exhausted by ‘Organizational fatigue’ thanks to LeBron James
Since LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven seasons, he has spent the next phase of his career playing four seasons for three different franchises.
His game plan to play in those increments has seen each organization he’s suited up for experience success, but become drained out following his departure. Longtime ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst voiced on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday underlined that notion.
“LeBron’s career operates in four-year increments. He wears his team out. I call it organizational fatigue,” Windhorst said via SI.com. “It happened the first time in Cleveland. They ran out of draft picks, they had a bunch of guys in their mid-30s. Shaq close to the finish line, Antawn Jamison.
“He goes to Miami, four years, great run, they run out of draft picks. In his last game, three guys retired after the game. He goes to Cleveland, four years, great run. They run out of draft picks. They got old guys. Here we are in L.A., fourth year. The oldest team we’ve seen in NBA history, they’re out of draft picks, they’re exhausted.”
James is in his fourth campaign with the Lakers, but his tenure has unraveled, unlike his previous two stops with the Cavaliers (second stint) and Miami Heat. He led both franchises to Finals trips in each season, while the Lakers could potentially miss the playoffs for the second time with the four-time league MVP.
The Lakers have exhausted their roster and resources to best suit James, and the backend of his tenure could head to disaster if not handled appropriately. Los Angeles doesn’t appear entirely prepared for the massive change whenever the star forward leaves or retires. However, that comes with the territory of attempting to compete for an NBA title with the 18-time All-Star
Ultimately, the Lakers knew what to expect when they landed James and remain all-in with making the most of his remaining tenure.
Expect the Lakers to undergo significant roster change
Regardless of how the rest of the 2021-22 campaign unfolds, the Lakers are heading to an offseason of significant change.
The franchise wants to restructure the entire roster around James, while head coach Frank Vogel will likely be let go. The most challenging task will be moving Russell Westbrook, who will likely exercise the $47 million player option for next season.
Westbrook’s league value has dropped drastically, forcing the Lakers to include multiple draft assets to generate serious trade talks.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles may explore trades for Anthony Davis due to his ongoing struggles to stay healthy. The front office may gauge the market to see what they can fetch for the eight-time All-Star. It’s not to say the team wants to move off him, but the franchise wants to do whatever it can to put a championship contender around James.
Los Angeles will have their hands full in trying to navigate through the mess but expect them to exercise all avenues to revamp the roster.