Why the Lakers need to move on from LeBron

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith


LeBron James has established his reputation. He doesn’t have anything left to prove. No matter what happens in the remainder of his career, he’ll go down as one of the greatest players of all time. So, why do the Lakers need to move on from the LeBron years and start building something new?

Lakers’ poor performance

The Lakers have had a poor season so far. To be on the cusp of the playoffs is not what is expected of a team with top players, and is one of the reasons why you can get such long odds on the Lakers to make the finals at sports betting sites in NJ. They are not expected to do anything serious over the course of the rest of the regular season or the postseason. 

So, what are the reasons for this?

Paying for the present with the future

It goes without saying that LeBron can still do it at a high level. You only have to see his 56-point performance to snatch a win against the Warriors to understand that, on his day, he is still an elite player. However, the problem is that LeBron still expects the team to be built around him. The issues with this are twofold. 

Firstly, LeBron isn’t getting any younger. While he can still perform, there are no guarantees that he will be able to keep this up in the long term. It means that the Lakers are pinning their hopes on a player who is not likely to be around beyond next season. Because they are building the side around LeBron, when he is no longer there, they will have an unbalanced side, with a LeBron-shaped hole in it. After all, how do you replace a player with the ability of LeBron James?

Secondly, it means that the Lakers aren’t focusing on the future. LeBron wants the finished article to play with him – he doesn’t want players who are learning the game. In essence, if the new LeBron James came along tomorrow, LeBron would most likely want him traded away to bring in someone with more experience at a high level. It means that the Lakers aren’t able to build and prepare for the future. This is extremely important, especially as LeBron isn’t likely to be there for that much longer. 

Ramifications for the here and now

This does raise big issues with regard to where the team are right now. Basically, because LeBron is on a downward spiral in his career, he’s not as consistent as he was earlier on. This has happened with every big-name player of the past, from Shaq to Jordan, it’s to be expected. It means that although LeBron is still capable of pulling impressive performances out of the bag, they just don’t happen as often as they used to. He’s not as much of a clutch player as he used to be. It’s showing in a big way this season, as the Lakers aren’t as imposing as they were last time out. LeBron might have brought a championship back to LA, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to create a dynasty in the City of Angels.

This means that the Lakers should be looking to the future in the postseason. Whether they will choose to move LeBron on remains to be seen, but at the very least, they should be looking to add more youth to the roster. This might mean that next season is another transitional one. But for the long-term future of the franchise, it’s important to make sure that the team is prepared to perform at a high level. If this kind of action isn’t taken, it could see the Lakers becoming a perennial struggler in the Western.

Is it possible to rebuild with LeBron?

Of course it’s possible. The problem is that LeBron still sees himself as a focal point. As such, he’s unable to relinquish too much control when it comes to roster additions. He knows he is more than just an elite player – he knows that he’s also a big name in terms of revenue. LeBron still puts butts on seats. However, if he was willing to take more of a backseat role and give up some of the influence that he has, the Lakers could flourish. It would then allow him to have a chance to bring another title to LA, which would undoubtedly cement his legacy as one of the greatest players of all time. Who knows, it might even be enough to make him THE greatest.

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