After eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances, LeBron James finds himself in unfamiliar territory as the Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of missing the playoffs.
As James has not missed the playoffs since his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, injuries have completely derailed the 2018-19 NBA season.
Along with James, the team’s young core has missed significant time as Brandon Ingram (deep venous thrombosis) is expected to miss the remainder of the season while Lonzo Ball (bone bruise) will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Kyrie Irving, who won one championship in three consecutive Finals appearances with James, can only imagine what his former teammate is going through.
“I feel for him. Obviously, he’s missed a lot of time as well as Brandon Ingram,” Irving said after the Boston Celtics’ 120-107 win over the Lakers.
“LeBron… he’s always been a championship contender. He’s such a great player, such a great teammate. When you’re not eligible to qualify for the playoffs, it’s hard. I can only imagine. Like I said, I feel for him.”
While Irving did request a trade from the Cavaliers, he has since apologized to James for how he acted during their time together. The two All-Star players were able to team up during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game where James said he ‘always loved’ Irving.
With Irving set to become an unrestricted free agent, he reportedly has ‘real interest’ in reuniting with James. While the 26-year-old does not want to discuss his future yet, the Lakers have $38 million in cap space and are looking for a second All-Star player alongside James and the young core.