Of late, The Athletic's Shams Charania hasn't exactly been the bearer of good news for Lakers fans. And Monday, talking with FanDuelTV, wasn't much different.
Charania noted that while the Lakers are going to re-evaluate LeBron James after three weeks, there is certainly some belief that the actual length of LeBron's absence could extend past that mark. Well past it, potentially, calling into serious question just how much regular season action James might get before a (hypothetical) play-in matchup. Or whether the Lakers can hang on long enough to even make those last few games meaningful.
And what exactly will be the considerations the Lakers and LeBron make when deciding whether LeBron can/should return to action?
It's all very speculative and super-unpleasant for the Lakers, and puts that much more pressure on Anthony Davis to elevate the team, D'Angelo Russell to get back on the floor, and the supporting cast to rise a little above role player status. But the flip side? The schedule is favorable. The Lakers play teams in front of them, they play teams that are slumping. They play teams, like Tuesday against Memphis, missing significant pieces (Ja Morant, Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke). They've shown themselves fully capable of winning games since the deadline.
One reason? Guys like Troy Brown Jr., who has thrived since the Lakers reorganized the roster at the deadline, finding a steadier role, greater confidence and plenty of rhythm. He's now firmly occupying that spot on the roster of cheap offseason additions last summer that now look appealing to hold on to this summer, but could be tough because he's outplayed his contract.
Finally, the Lakers will retire Pau Gasol's 16 on Tuesday. He's one of the best humans we've covered in sports, and now finds himself not only representing a symbol of basketball greatness and Lakers greatness, but as important connective tissue for the memory of Kobe Bryant. It's a unique role he is well-suited to play.
HOSTS: Andy and Brian Kamenetzky
SEGMENT 1: Just how many games is LeBron going to miss, now?
SEGMENT 2: The burden on AD, and the increasing confidence of Troy Brown.
SEGMENT 3: Pau Gasol gets his jersey retired tonight.
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