By Evan Bleier / March 11, 2019

Set to Miss Playoffs, Should the Lakers Considering Trading LeBron?

Losers of five in a row, the Los Angeles Lakers (30-36) will not be making the postseason.

Los Angeles Lakers Forward LeBron James (23) is called for a foul during the Denver Nuggets game versus the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2019, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
Los Angeles Lakers Forward LeBron James (23) is called for a foul during the Denver Nuggets game versus the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2019, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)

The NBA playoffs will not include LeBron James for the first time in well over a decade.

Losers of five in a row and eight out of their last 10, the Los Angeles Lakers (30-36) will not be making the postseason.

That means that James will not only spend this year’s playoffs on the sidelines, but also that the NBA Finals will be played without him for the first time in nine years.

So where do the Lakers and their star go from here?

On Saturday while the Lakers were in the process of losing to the Celtics, ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy floated the idea that LA should go so far as to trade James.

That scenario seems unlikely.

Thanks to the failure to reach the postseason, James will get six months off to rest, recover, reset, and heal for the first time in 14 years. It’s possible he’ll come back better than ever and, for a player who is averaging 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game, that is saying something.

Kevin Love, his former Cleveland teammate, thinks the extended time off will do him good.

“Just having that break, being able to reassess and come back really, really highly motivated, I think it’s going to be big for him,” Love said. “If you get Bron highly motivated, anything can happen.”

James is due to make $37.4 million in 2019-20 as he approaches 35 and his 17th season in the NBA. Odds are, despite what Van Gundy suggested, it’ll be for the Lakers in Los Angeles.

“It has been proven that setbacks inspire James,” writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “Miami lost the 2011 NBA Finals in his first season with the Heat. Fueled by that, he came back the next year better than ever, and his fingerprints smudged the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time in 2012. Cleveland lost the 2015 finals in his first year back there, and he carried that all the way to winning the 2016 title.”

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