https://www.dailywire.com/news/lebron-james-lakers-will-miss-playoffs-extremely-disappointed

That’ll do it for the Los Angeles Lakers season. 

The Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night, with the San Antonio Spurs beating the Denver Nuggets and LA losing to the Phoenix Suns 121-110. 

While the Lakers have struggled all season, the result is no less shocking. Entering the 2021-2022 season, the Lakers were the betting favorites to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals after adding veteran point guard Russell Westbrook in the offseason. But the fit never made sense next to LeBron James, and the additions of Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo were 10 years too late. 

Injuries also played a major role, with James missing 23 games due to various injuries, and Anthony Davis forced to sit for 39 games with a foot injury forcing him to miss 18 games late in the season. 

“Our goal was to win a championship,” Davis said after Tuesday’s loss. “Feel like we had the pieces, but injuries got in the way of that. And that was the difference in the season. I think even though we lost games where all of us was on the floor — me, Bron, Russ — I think we’re three great players, but we would have figured it out if we logged more minutes together. But we weren’t able to do that, which makes it tough to be able to compete for a championship when your three best players haven’t logged enough minutes together.”

The future is now quite murky for Head Coach Frank Vogel, who led the Lakers to the organization’s 17th title in 2020. 

“Extremely disappointed,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Disappointed for our fan base. Disappointed for the Buss family, who gave us all this opportunity and we want to play our part in bringing success to Laker basketball and we fell short.”

The offseason questions will revolve around Westbrook and James’ future in LA. Ideally, the Lakers would like to move off of Westbrook, but finding a trade partner will be difficult, as Westbrook’s contract for next season will pay him $47 million. James will be on the last year of his contract, and it’s not like he’s dismissed the idea of leaving LA to end his career. 

“The door’s not closed on that,” James told The Athletic at All-Star Weekend, when asked about returning to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers. “I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free.”

While James is certainly at the tail end of his career — father time comes for us all — his numbers still jump off the page. Even surrounded by a Lakers roster that has failed him, James is averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game, while shooting 35.9% from beyond the arc. You can bet that all 30 NBA teams would happily give James whatever he demands even as inches closer to 40. 

Whatever happens this offseason, the 2021-2022 Lakers will be remembered as one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history. From Finals favorites to out of the playoffs is a long fall. 

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

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