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Is This LeBron’s Final Year With The Lakers?

By Jeff Stinger

A team that many anticipate making a crucial move in an attempt to improve their roster and playoff chances are the Los Angeles Lakers. Whether or not they pull the trigger remains a question mark, but the next few weeks in the city should brew some of the hottest storylines in basketball right now.

Perhaps the most absorbing part of the franchise’s situation involves its highs and lows. At the time of writing, they are a handful of games out of the top five in the Western Conference. There’s still more than half of the season to go, but what if they fail to produce a deal and fail to make the postseason for a second consecutive year? What if they do make the move and it pulls the team further back?

Well, what transpires during the offseason could take them back on track or imminent failure. According to recent reports, there are a handful of teams anticipating a LeBron James trade demand soon.

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LeBron James trade rumors hanging over

Help or no help?

If a LeBron James trade were supposed to happen, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to most. The 38-year-old is living past his hay days and if he wants to end his final chapter on a winning team, it’s clear that he may have to be on a different team. And that could come to fruition after this year’s NBA trade deadline and the beginning of the offseason.

Should the Lakers fail to welcome a new key player, there’s a good chance they miss the playoffs. This is a story that never sits well with the four-time NBA champion. If that is the inevitable path for the Lakers, there will be immense pressure on the franchise to add a big-ticket player via trade or free agency.

If the team fails to live up to expectations in the offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see The King part ways with the team and ask for a trade. It likely wouldn’t be as apparent as we’ve seen in the league in recent years, but it isn’t an absurd narrative when we think about his desires to win a final championship before retiring.

Monster figures for the 38-year-old make him an asset anywhere

Despite the failure to produce significant wins this season, LeBron is holding up his end of the bargain for the Lakers. He walks the walk on the court to complement all the talking he does outside. Last weekend, the former Cleveland Cavaliers star scored 37 points and collected eight rebounds and seven assists. These are numbers almost unheard of coming from players his age. It was also his tenth 30-point game in his last 13 appearances. During that run, he averaged 33.9 points and an incredible 29.1 points per game this season.

On the other hand, the Lakers continue to wait things out until they have a lucrative deal on the table. If they didn’t react to the team’s underwhelming start, it’s unclear if their recent results will change plans in the near future. Nevertheless, it should be a priority. The Lakers are digging deep and playing at a level that could get them back in the playoff race, all while marinating several deals on their hands and not making any abrupt moves to improve a roster that remains questionable.

LeBron is doing enough, and probably more. It’s always been the front office’s responsibility to surround one of their best players with competent help on the court. This is a clear flaw of the franchise since the beginning of the campaign. The pressure was immense early on in the year because the losses came one after another.

With that, the latter scenario will only amplify the trade talks, from James and Laker fans. Will the franchise satisfy its leader on the court or drag on the anticipation until something eventually happens?

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