There was a lot of drama on the LA Lakers in 2018-19
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LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the LA Lakers in the 2018 Off-Season. This came after he had completed four consecutive NBA finals with the Cavaliers and a total of eight consecutive finals when he played four more finals with the Miami Heat.
However, James and the Lakers fought in the 2018-19 season. He had a groin injury and played in very few games of his career. People speculated that Father Time had finally caught up with him. The Lakers also fought as a team as they went 37-45 and missed the playoffs. It was the first time since the 2004/05 season that James missed the playoffs.
When a team led by LeBron James loses, there is already a lot of drama ignited by the media as negative headlines keep coming out about him or other members of the team. However, there was actually a lot of drama within the organization this year.
The team couldn’t trade for Anthony Davis that season, and there was tension between then-president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, then-coach Luke Walton and general manager Rob Pelinka, according to ESPN.
Johnson eventually resigned before the Lakers’ final home game that season. When he resigned, he also implied that, according to ESPN, “backstabbing” had taken place within the organization. He then later appeared on ESPNs First door and did some recordings with Pelinka and Business Operations President Tim Harris.
How did the Lakers go from a circus to an NBA final team?
LeBron James had dinner with Jeanie Buss
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In March 2019, James and Buss had dinner together, ESPN reported. James’ agent Rich Paul and Linda Rambis, general manager of Lakers, also attended the dinner. This was actually quite a big deal as Paul, speaking to ESPN, couldn’t remember James ever having officially dined with Heat owner Micky Arison in Miami or Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in Cleveland.
During the meeting, it became clear that the drama had to stop. It was also clear that James wasn’t going to add anything and that they were in it together.
“We understand that things happen. We don’t point at anyone and stay with you, ”Paul said, according to ESPN, about the message James Buss had given over dinner. “We feel obliged to you and will do it even better. We will emerge from it differently than what the world sees. Let the people who talk talk. We just have to do the work. ”
The Lakers have had a lot of success since then
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In the 2019 off-season, the Lakers finally traded for Anthony Davis, and the team got a new coach, Frank Vogel. James then came to training camp and appeared to be on a mission.
“I’m very motivated,” James said on ESPN. “But I’m not in talk mode right now. I was very calm this summer for a reason. My mother always said to me, “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” So there I am. ”
Since then, James has led the Lakers to an incredible season. The team has gone through many troubles this year: Kobe Bryant’s death, the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising cases of social injustice in America. But the Lakers continued to thrive, reaching the NBA Finals and taking the 3-1 lead in the first four games of the series.
James was amazing this year too. During the regular season, he averaged 25.3 points per game, 7.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists in the NBA, proving that Father Time hasn’t quite caught him yet.
Sure, LeBron James’ game on the court has brought the LA Lakers back to the NBA finals this season. However, no one should overlook his and Jeanie Buss’ work to cut out the drama.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference
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