Just like gravity, taxes, and the Swiss national train schedule, there is the reliability of LeBron James. He is always in the lineup, scoring points, grabbing rebounds, and setting new records.
That is all changing now that he is out with a high ankle sprain for an indefinite amount of time, according to the Los Angeles Lakers. This type of injury typically takes anywhere between four to six weeks for recovery, which would take James’ absence through the end of the regular season.
When Anthony Davis was out, the Lakers looked fairly normal. James did his thing, and no one seriously questioned if the team was good enough to challenge for another title.
But with James on the sideline, it’s a different feel entirely. The Lakers have dropped their first two games without him on and looked bad doing it.
The absence is only temporary. The Lakers are still going to be one of the odds-on favorites when the playoffs roll around. In fact, online sportsbooks still have the Lakers as the favorites to win the Western Conference, paying +140.
Lakers Hall of Famer Baylor Passes Away
Elgin Baylor passed away at the age of 86. Baylor was one of the greatest players in NBA history and a 14-year star for the Lakers in both Minneapolis and Los Angeles. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1958 and was an All-NBA first-team selection 10 times.
Baylor had the misfortune of playing at the same time that the Boston Celtics were on their championship streak of 11 titles in 13 seasons. He appeared in the NBA Finals eight times before he and the Lakers finally won the title on their ninth attempt in Baylor’s final year in the league. However, he didn’t play in the postseason or the Finals that year. Unfortunately, knee injuries forced him to retire early in that 1971-72 campaign.
NBA Trade Deadline
It’s the law of unintended consequences. The NBA, in an effort to keep more teams in the hunt in this COVID-19-shortened NBA season, has included a play-in tournament before the playoffs. More teams have a chance to make the postseason. However, that means fewer teams are willing to part with their star players before the March 25 trade deadline.
In a season that already saw James Harden get traded to the Brooklyn Nets, it’s disingenuous to say that this year will be devoid of big trades. But the big deadline deals, like Demarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2017 or Baron Davis and a first-round pick to the Cavs in 2011 (that pick turned out to be Kyrie Irving), are unlikely to happen before Thursday’s deadline
It does seem like the Los Angeles Clippers are making moves to set up a possible bigger move. They traded former No. 27 overall NBA pick Mfiondu Kabengele and cash to the Sacramento Kings, freeing up a roster spot and space against the hard cap.
Online bookmakers have the Clippers NBA futures conference odds at +200 to win the Western Conference.