“I Really, Honestly Think LeBron Is Just Talking At This Point”| Keyshawn Johnson Balks At LeBron’s Hollow Optimism About Lakers Disaster

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LeBron James shared some interesting thoughts during his media availability on Monday prior to his exit interviews. He still has the desire to win another title and believes everyone came in and worked hard this season and it just didn’t work out. But he wouldn’t say the season was a failure. ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson wasn’t buying any of LeBron’s comments, saying anytime LeBron fails to make a deep playoff run or compete for a title it’s a failure.

“I really, honestly think LeBron is just talking at this point,” Johnson said this week on “KJM.” “He knows clearly that this season was a failure.”

Of course the season was a failure. The Lakers finished 33-49 and failed to make the play-in tournament. This was a team that was a preseason title contender according to Las Vegas odds. Yes, James and Anthony Davis were hurt for stretches of the season, but they couldn’t even play .500 basketball.

The roster was poorly constructed, and the fault lies with the Lakers front office and LeBron, because he signed off on these moves.

When the Lakers won the title in 2020 they were the third-ranked defense in the league. Last season they finished the regular season as the top-ranked defense. This season? They’re 21st.

They let Alex Caruso go in free agency, traded Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and last year’s first round pick for Russell Westbrook. A move that has proved disastrous.

The Lakers had a defensive identity the last two seasons and shipped out their best defenders, sans LeBron and Davis, for Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and a bunch of minimum salary guys?

Epic failure.

The Lakers fired head coach Frank Vogel and rumors started swirling that they would target current Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. Why would Nurse ever want to leave Toronto where he has won a title, proved his coaching chops, and has a young team of mostly homegrown talent? For who? For what?

Not for L.A., where he would be caught in a power struggle between Klutch Sports (LeBron’s representation) and the various power brokers in the Lakers front office. That’s a losing scenario.

Everyone knows what the Lakers should do. But they won’t.

Since the late Dr. Jerry Buss bought the team in 1979, the franchise ethos has been about star power. They play in L.A. (read: Hollywood), so they should always have the biggest, brightest and best stars in the NBA.

It’s a strategy that has won them 11 championships over the 43 years that the Buss family has owned the team. They’ve had some of the biggest and best.

But it’s always boom or bust with the Lakers. When it’s good, it’s good. But when it’s bad, and those superstars age out, it gets ugly. The post-Showtime era before Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant? Eight years of bad basketball. The post-Kobe’s prime years? Ten years of bad basketball.

Now here they stand. LeBron has one year left on his deal and Davis has two. The roster needs rebuilding, and they have nothing of value to use in a potential trade aside from LeBron and Davis, whom they won’t move.

Unless they get lucky and some superstar wants to sign there and they can work some serious magic on their cap and balance sheets, they are headed for another down period.