The Los Angeles Lakers have problems. LeBron James’ return has not solved them. There are basketball issues, as evidenced by a blowout loss to Indiana Wednesday night, and there are interpersonal issues amid swirling trade winds.
One need not be a body language expert or occupational family therapist to know there are rifts. At this point, the Lakers are doing the opposite of hiding the acrimony. Watchful observers noticed James sitting all by himself at the end of the bench last night, like the smelly kid at lunch.
The great Rob Perez broke down footage to provide a complete picture of the circumstances and it does not look great for LeBron.
Now, reasonable minds can disagree whether this is a big deal or not. My gut tells me it isn’t, that some times people just want some space and not everything is a mental chess move telegraphed to the world.
But then I remember what the NBA, in 2019, has become. And that’s very similar to a Real Housewives reunion where pettiness and dramatic flair is the norm. I remember that NBA players have more feelings than the rest of us and are the most sensitive group since early-2000s emo frontmen.
Truth is, this probably is bad. It just doesn’t make the whole spectacle any less ridiculous.
Look at the cadre of players who would have been intentionally dissing the second-best of all time. What have they accomplished? Is it really so difficult to play with a guy like James? He can’t be that bad.
Obviously, there’s the generational element. Michael Jordan literally punched his teammates and they never did him like this. Of course there were a lot less feelings back then.
Whatever happened in Indiana is understandably catnip for NBA Twitter and NBA Drama Inc. Here’s hoping all involved can work through their fragile state and put the pieces back together again.