The Los Angeles Lakers' season is really in jeopardy now. LeBron James and the Lakers have their backs to the wall after the Phoenix Suns won Game 6 of their first-round series to eliminate Los Angeles from the playoffs. No team has ever come back from being down 2-4 in an NBA playoff series and this team doesn't seem like it will be the first.
The Lakers have now won just five playoff series in the last decade and failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs in eight of those seasons. It is clearly time for the Lakers to start a full rebuild. Just look at the season-by-season results of the LeBron James era in Los Angeles.
I'm just not sure how you can look at this and think LeBron James and Anthony Davis can win a title together. This season they barely made the playoffs, winning 42 games. Two years ago, before Davis arrived, they won 37. That's not much of an improvement.
LeBron James has two years and $85 million left on his deal. Anthony Davis still has $150+ million remaining on his deal, so he could be more difficult to move, but both guys should be worth a late first-round pick. If the Lakers want to contend instead of lose to players like Devin Booker who were in their first playoff series ever, they need to land a superstar or two.
The truth is, this is the Los Angeles Lakers we're talking about. This a team that has won 17 NBA titles and made more Finals appearances than any other franchise. They need to make moves. The 7-seed in the Eastern Conference decided to replace their coach and general manager this offseason. Clearly, a first round exit is when you make major changes.
Maybe the worst part of this is the clear decline in LeBron James' ability. He has now missed the NBA Finals twice in the last decade, both with the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 25 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds this season. I assume most good players average at least that. He was even worse in the playoffs, averaging 23, 8 and 7. If that's all you can do against the team with the second best record in the NBA, that's probably not very good.
The LeBron James era in Los Angeles has clearly been a failure if you ignore the NBA championship and the number of injuries they've dealt with and don't want to give any credit to Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The good news is that some players might still consider Los Angeles a desirable destination. If you don't mind a little losing.