The Lakers’ harsh truth: LeBron is no longer the best, most durable player in the world

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Take One: LeBron James bit off more than he can chew

remember when he subtweeted Kevin Love? — because he couldn’t just live out just any story. It had to be his story, so he leverages the power of his talent to remake franchises in his own image.’ data-reactid=”18″>He takes the hard path and then makes it harder — remember when he subtweeted Kevin Love? — because he couldn’t just live out just any story. It had to be his story, so he leverages the power of his talent to remake franchises in his own image.

It’s not entitlement as much as it’s rational opportunism. Like any corporate hotshot, the world’s best player can run up a bloated bar tab — he can take off possessions and brazenly want his team to trade for Anthony Davis — as long as he closes it with a championship. We all have a right to reap what we are worth.


In his 16th season, LeBron James is finally slowing down. (Getty)

defensive lowlight reels rack up online. On Saturday, basketball’s most dynamic mogul so richly pontificated: “Basketball, is that the most important thing while we’re doing this? Is it the most important thing in your life at this time? If you feel like you’re giving it all to the game, then you can do other things. But if you feel like you’re not giving as much as you can, then you can’t focus on anything else. That’s just … my personal take.”’ data-reactid=”61″>But he isn’t and they’re not, and LeBron has reacted by going full baby boomer, trying to build an empire on a faulty foundation and blaming the kids for the walls crumbling down. He has wondered out loud if his teammates are too comfortable with losing, while his defensive lowlight reels rack up online. On Saturday, basketball’s most dynamic mogul so richly pontificated: “Basketball, is that the most important thing while we’re doing this? Is it the most important thing in your life at this time? If you feel like you’re giving it all to the game, then you can do other things. But if you feel like you’re not giving as much as you can, then you can’t focus on anything else. That’s just … my personal take.”

The Lakers’ young talent has been on trial all season. But now the onus is on LeBron. He’ll either prove he is worth all the trouble and carry the Lakers to the playoffs or be forced to adjust to a world that will stop bending to his every will — or, in other words, age gracefully.

Take Two: Dwyane Wade’s game-winner against the Warriors echoed his best qualities

running 20-footer that beat Chicago; the time he accidentally dropped the ball, picked it up and nailed a three to beat the Nets; the forward-leaning jumper he hit after bumping into Paul George and trying to draw a foul. Those were the moments that made luck seem like a non-perishable resource belonging only to him, cultivating a feeling that if he could not finesse a win, he would will it.’ data-reactid=”70″>But the hallmark of Wade’s career will be the improbability of his greatest moments, when fate or situation or bodily stress would make you think he couldn’t possibly muster this one in, like the running 20-footer that beat Chicago; the time he accidentally dropped the ball, picked it up and nailed a three to beat the Nets; the forward-leaning jumper he hit after bumping into Paul George and trying to draw a foul. Those were the moments that made luck seem like a non-perishable resource belonging only to him, cultivating a feeling that if he could not finesse a win, he would will it.

On deadline day, the Bulls traded Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a protected 2023 second-round draft pick to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr., Washington’s spindly swingman with a contract few teams wanted. But the Bulls — who won’t be attracting free agents any time soon — did, and they’re benefiting on multiple levels.’ data-reactid=”81″>On deadline day, the Bulls traded Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis and a protected 2023 second-round draft pick to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr., Washington’s spindly swingman with a contract few teams wanted. But the Bulls — who won’t be attracting free agents any time soon — did, and they’re benefiting on multiple levels.

There’s Porter himself — 18.1 points on 51.5 percent 3-point shooting — and then there are the minutes and angles the trade has etched out for Lau