This current season has been absolutely brutal for the NBA. Many of the league’s best players have dealt with serious injuries and they keep piling up. Just recently, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard got hit with the news that they may have to miss multiple games and could even be done for the playoffs. Prior to those injuries, the Los Angeles Lakers went from having a 2-1 lead over the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs to losing the series 4-2 after Anthony Davis suffered one of many injuries he’s dealt with throughout the season.
That’s not to mention LeBron James, who clearly wasn’t 100% during the series after suffering an ankle sprain earlier in the year. LeBron has typically been a good soldier for the NBA but the news that Leonard has a serious injury put him over the top. He unleashed a fiery rant at the NBA and called them out for not giving players enough time to rest.
LeBron has always been outspoken over issues surrounding the NBA but it’s a bit surprising he’d go after the league in such a direct fashion. With serious injuries continuing to pile up for the NBA’s best players, the shortened offseason certainly looks questionable in hindsight.
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LeBron Adds More Context & Sends Support to Kawhi Leonard
Obviously, the NBA didn’t just decide to have a shortened offseason on a whim. It was a business decision and the league wanted to do what they could to try and get things back to normal after a year that was thrown for a loop due to COVID-19. LeBron understands the business side of things but he still believes the NBA dropped the ball.
Though the Lakers and Clippers have formed a rivalry over the last two seasons, LeBron made sure to send his support to Kawhi Leonard, who may have suffered a serious ACL injury, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Lakers Felt Pressured to Approve Short Offseason: Report
When the news that the NBA would be shortening the offseason in order to start the next season in a timely manner, LeBron and superstar teammate Anthony Davis expressed concern. That fell on deaf ears as the league moved forward with the plan. However, things weren’t that simple. According to Kyle Goon of the OC Register, Los Angeles essentially felt pressure to approve the NBA’s plan:
Among the Lakers, the feeling, according to a person familiar with their thinking at the time, was that the players didn’t believe they had many other realistic options, so they ultimately voted to go with the 72-game schedule played through July.
It doesn’t sound like the league gave the Lakers many options to pick from. Seeing how both teams that were in the NBA Finals last season got bounced in the first round of the playoffs after lackluster regular seasons, it’s clear that the shortened offseason had a negative effect on a number of teams.