Friday, January 20, 2023

Lakers star LeBron James fires off cryptic tweet amid trade speculation

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LeBron James fired off a cryptic tweet Thursday night as the Los Angeles Lakers struggled and trade speculation heated, prompting some speculation as to what “The King” might be thinking.

Despite some tremendous performances from James, the Lakers have suffered four losses in their last five games and have been unable to make any progress in the standings as they attempt to qualify for a playoff spot.

the Evening tweet from James to his more than 50 million followers was easy to read: “Make a Play (MAP)”.

There was wild speculation in the comments, but it was pointed out that James’ tweet was about a song by artist Jerreau that was released in 2016. An interesting lyric from the song reads: “First they love you, then they hate you, then they love you again. The same ones who burn your jersey, the same ones who cheer again.”

Quite a few joked that it should have been called MAT, for “Make a Trade”. The Lakers have been embroiled in plenty of rumors but are yet to pull the trigger despite mounting injuries and the team struggling to string wins together.

James appeared to make a request to the front office in December with some post-game comments, lamenting the fact that the Lakers weren’t in the mix for a title.

“I’m a winner and I want to win,” said James. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still fight for championships. It’s always been my passion, it’s always been my goal since I came to the league as an 18-year-old from Akron, Ohio.

“I don’t want to end my career at this level from a team perspective. I still want to fight for championships. I know what I can bring to any ball club with the right parts.”

James recently turned 38 but has shown no signs of slowing down, averaging 29.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 7.0 assists this season. The problem for the Lakers is that he averages 36.3 minutes per game and has played 40-plus three times in his last eight games.

“I feel bad about it. He plays at an amazing level. But we can’t run him into the ground. That was one of my main goals for this season,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham after a loss to the Kings on Wednesday. “We just need to manage him and have clarity on how we can reduce his minutes a bit.”

As of Jan. 19, the Lakers sit 20-25 and are ranked No. 13 in the Western Conference. While that seems bleak, the Lakers are only two games away from a playoff berth but need to change things quickly.

The Lakers are devastated, with Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV all missing significant time.

Davis obviously offers the most significant hole in the lineup, with the All-Star playing at MVP level before suffering a foot injury. His 27.4 points, 12.1 rebounds, and intimidating defensive presence are impossible to replicate, but the Lakers were able to play solid basketball with him off the lineup.

The Lakers went on a five-game winning streak before losing four of their last five, with most of those losses coming to the brink. James has emphasized that the Lakers must play clean basketball to emerge victorious in these close competitions.

“We’re limited with bodies,” James said. “So until some of our big boys come back or some of our most important boys come back…we have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing the last few games. Plays clean basketball.”

James and the Lakers face a tough test in their next game on Friday when they take on the 31-13 Memphis Grizzlies.

James and the Lakers face a tough test in their next game on Friday when they take on the 31-13 Memphis Grizzlies.

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