June 3, 2021, will be a day NBA fans will never forget. It’s the date LeBron James was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs for the first time in his legendary career.
The Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 at Staples Center to advance to the second round of the postseason. LeBron is now 14-1 in the first round and won’t get the chance to defend his NBA championship. The four-time MVP won his fourth title last season when the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the 2020 Finals at the Walt Disney World bubble.
During his postgame press conference with reporters, LeBron was asked if he will play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The Lakers superstar said he would not represent his country because he plans to suit up for a team Michael Jordan played on instead.
LeBron James will use the summer to get healthy
LeBron missed 26 games this season because of a high right ankle sprain that still limited him against the Suns in the playoffs. The four-time Finals MVP, who turns 37 in December and has many miles on his legs, told reporters his body would benefit from the extra time to recover. He also spoke about getting Anthony Davis healthy.
“It’s going to work wonders for me,” LeBron said. “I get like three months to recalibrate, get my ankle back to 100% where it was. That’s the most important thing for me. The No. 1 thing for us is getting AD healthy. If we get big fella healthy, that will put us in the best possible chance to be successful next year.”
Davis suffered a groin injury in Game 4 against the Suns and missed Game 5. He tried to play in Game 6 but couldn’t move at all. This summer will be crucial for AD and LeBron to rest and get stronger to be ready for a revenge season in 2021-22.
Both Lakers stars are finalists for the USA Basketball Tokyo Olympics team. However, it’s unknown if Davis will play since it makes more sense for him to sit out and rest. As for LeBron, he’s already stated he won’t be in Tokyo since he has to help a team Jordan aided back in the ’90s.
LeBron James will play for the Tune Squad just like Michael Jordan did
LeBron will not play in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Instead, he will be playing for the Tune Squad, just like Jordan did back in the day.
Space Jam: A New Legacy will be released on July 16. LeBron is following in Jordan’s footsteps and playing with the looney tunes characters. MJ’s Space Jam movie was released in 1996, and it was a huge hit. Just like the Chicago Bulls legend, LeBron has several basketball stars in his movie, most notably Davis, Klay Thompson, and Damian Lillard.
Actor Don Cheadle revealed that Jordan will be in Space Jam: A New Legacy. However, he said it’s not in the way people would expect. Nevertheless, sports fans are excited about seeing LeBron and His Airness share the screen for the first time.
The Lakers need to make changes this summer
LeBron and Davis are still two of the best players in the league. However, the King is getting older and the Brow has proven to be injury-prone. With that said, the Lakers’ front office has to change the roster around the two All-Stars and get more pieces that fit.
Andre Drummond signed with the Lakers after reaching a buyout agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, he was a non-factor in the playoffs and didn’t play in Game 6. Adding the former Detroit Pistons star proved to be a terrible move by general manager Rob Pelinka, and he should seriously consider letting Drummond walk in free agency.
Most Lakers fans want Pelinka to try and trade for Lillard or Bradley Beal. However, LA doesn’t have the necessary assets to acquire either player. Kyle Kuzma’s value keeps dropping, so no team will be aggressive in asking for him in trade talks. Pelinka also made a huge mistake in not parting ways with Talen Horton-Tucker at the trade deadline to acquire Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors.
It will be interesting to see what the Lakers do this summer in terms of improving the roster. Getting LeBron and Davis back to 100% is important, but management must make some trades and proper free-agent signings to bolster the team.