For LeBron James’ Lakers, there’s no Hollywood end in sight for this horror show

There are two issues right now for the Los Angeles Lakers. The first is the way they currently play. The second is what comes next.

The present is the most visible and ugly manifestation of what is wrong with Lakerland. This team, as LeBron James pointed out, is not “built on big shots.”

It is diplomatic, indeed. But there’s no getting around the total and precise indictment that LeBron’s words present to the Lakers’ roster and chances this season.

This team is 0-3. They have a stagnant and embarrassing offense, and players are more likely to taunt LeBron’s supposed championship aspirations than help them.

Take Anthony Davis. Although talented, he remains an unreliable star when it comes to his health and a question mark, even when available, as a solution for a talent-starved team. It’s a three-to-15 roster that’s among the worst in the NBA. And that’s before you factor in the special dumpster fire that is Russell Westbrook as a Laker.

It was just awful, an albatross around a team already weighed down by the expectations that always come with LeBron but less than enough talent to meet them from a distance.

This is bad, and things will only get worse.

It’s the future – as distant as it seems for Los Angeles through the haze of fatigue, angst, horror, pessimism and mockery that unfolds this season – that is potentially most distressing.

you’re supposed to be bad Publish-LeBron, not while he’s still on your list.

That’s always been the trade-off: Compete and win now, and suffer the burnout and rebuild later. And later, like winter, comes. LeBron turns 38 on December 30. His new two-year contract ends in the summer of 2024, and despite his incredibly high level of play, there’s no guarantee he’ll see this Lakers team as the appropriate vehicle for the twilight years of his career. .

During LeBron’s first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, they made the playoffs five straight seasons, including an unsuccessful Finals appearance in 2007. After he left, Cleveland went 97-215. Thirty-three victories was the high water mark. The post-LeBron principle — in which your youth, your assets, your draft picks and, some would say, your culture, were sacrificed for the here and now — had begun.

The same pattern followed in Miami: Four years of greatness — back-to-back NBA Finals appearances and two rings — were the fee for a post-LeBron future that included a comedown for an organization that had only suffered a only losing season in more than a decade under Pat Riley.

Still, the Heat, when LeBron returned to Cleveland, went 37-45 that first season without him, and had their ups and downs before finding their footing many years later.

Ditto Cleveland — Finals appearances, a coveted championship, and then three dreadful seasons of basketball before general manager Koby Altman started drafting properly and turning the tide.

It’s always been the deal. Having King James always comes at a price, but it’s brand new territory that the price is being paid while he’s still around.

Often, LeBron’s exit predicts that of others. In Cleveland, head coach Mike Brown and general manager Danny Ferry would leave after LeBron. In Miami, Dwyane Wade would say goodbye to LeBron and then, finally and awkwardly, to the Heat team he had played for his entire career. The second time Cleveland watched LeBron’s exit, a familiar pattern followed. His head coach, Ty Lue, and general manager, David Griffin, also left.

Get LeBron. Win and win and win. Watch him go. Lose, recalibrate, rebuild. It’s the model. So far.

The Lakers aren’t a good basketball team, and even with a solution for Westbrook’s mess — offloading him via trade or buyout — it’s unlikely this team will be talented enough to do much to win this year. LeBron will likely overtake Kareem as the all-time leading scorer, but that story is unlikely to be matched by similar team success.

It’s hard to see Anthony Davis as the No. 1 on a championship-level team. Most of the young talent the Lakers had amassed before LeBron was traded to AD. LeBron’s future.

Yes, this Lakers season got off to a bad start in what could be a bad year. But this may just be the start. Winning with LeBron was the norm until now. But losing without him is even more of a guarantee.

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