‘Out for the Season’: LeBron James Joke Lands With a Thud for Lakers

LeBron James, Lakers

Getty LeBron James, Lakers

At 1:09 Eastern time, 10:09 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James tweeted that he was shutting it down.

“I’m out for the season officially. See y’all in the fall.”

There were face-palm, crown and peace sign emojis to accompany his words.

It’s fair to say the April Fool’s Day “joke” landed with a thud.

At 1:09 Eastern time, 10:09 Pacific time Friday, LeBron’s Lakers had lost four straight games, were 14 games under .500 and, due to the tiebreaker, were in 11th place in the Western Conference.

About a dozen hours later, a still-playing LeBron James threw in 38 points, but his club lost at home to New Orleans after No. 10 San Antonio had won, leaving the Angelenos a game out of the play-in with five games left — a spread that’s actually a bit greater, because the Spurs hold the tiebreaker.

If the Lakers’ standing doesn’t improve, they will be out for the season officially by Sunday evening, April 10.

Certainly LeBron can joke whenever he wishes — and as comedians will readily tell you, they can’t all be gems. But there is a measure of tone deafness here that was evident in the response from fans.

No question, L.A. has been hindered by injuries, most prominently to Anthony Davis, this season, but the roster littered with starry names well onto the back nine of their careers — a roster that LeBron helped craft — has nonetheless underachieved. The roll call of ugly losses, the blown leads and the no-competes is lengthy.

And when you look up from 11th place and see the Zion Williamson-less Pelicans two rungs ahead, it’s hard to curse bad luck.

The Lakers are where they are because they haven’t found a way to properly sacrifice parts of their individual games in a way that will make the larger entity work.

One would think the embarrassment of these last months would make them more determined to leave their resumes at the door and find a way to win consistently, but that hasn’t happened.

So LeBron joking that he’s out for the season isn’t so funny when the Lakers have largely been out to lunch.

And at some point, even one of the greatest ever to play this game should probably read the room.

Cuban: USA Basketball Should Bar Players Over 21

I checked in with Mark Cuban for some general thoughts on the league, and the Mavericks’ owner is generally happy.

“I think the NBA is in great position right now,” he told Heavy.com. “There are no dramatic changes that I think need to be made.”

While he did suggest the charge circle be moved further from the basket “to reduce the collisions that inevitably take place to further protect players,” his other idea is fairly major.

“I would start our own World Cup and get us out of the Olympics for players over 21,” Cuban told us.

FIBA currently stages its World Cup every four years, and some of the NBA’s more prominent players have said that, with this, the Olympics and various qualification events, committing so often to international competition after the long league season is taxing.

‘Daryl Got to Philly Wanting to Get James’

There has been a lot of speculation from earlier in the year as to why Ben Simmons was so adamant about not wanting to player for the Sixers ever again. Did the way he and the club shrunk out of the 2021 playoffs scar him that badly? Were there issues among the players?

One person close to the situation insists the dye was cast when Daryl Morey took over as president of basketball operations in November of 2020.

“First of all, Daryl got to Philly wanting to get James (Harden) and wanting to get rid of Ben,” said the source. “He walked in the door saying he was going to get that done.”

The fact the ensuing season was played under pandemic protocols then played a major factor in souring Simmons even further, he said.

“There wasn’t anybody in the stands but Tier 1 people,” he told Heavy.com. “So when Ben would f*** something up, Daryl would react. And the word would get to Ben. So Ben knew that Daryl wanted to get rid of him early on. It was clear because of the way he’d react. Then Ben, with all his passive aggressiveness, that’s how it all went south.”

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