The Lakers were hoping to activate LeBron James’ playoff mode by this time of the season. Instead, they are activating Andre Ingram.
Los Angeles is bringing back another fan favorite as Ingram is prepared to join a team ravaged by injuries.
LeBron James will meander to the finish line on a minutes restriction. Lonzo Ball is done for the season joining Brandon Ingram, who was diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis.
Head coach Luke Walton didn’t add much to that news other than to confirm Ingram was done for the year: “We’ve released what he’s got going on, but I’m not going to get into all the details. I’m just finding out a lot of it myself. All I’m going to say on him right now is that he’s out for the rest of the season.”
There is simply no way to beat injuries; they take their toll on any team and can happen regardless of how well the training staff regimen might be.
L.A. endured something of a cursed season, also seeing Rajon Rondo and LeBron miss significant time.
Instead of adding depth, however, Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka decided to sign one-dimensional veterans who have disappointed during their one-year Hollywood cameo. Yet it’s Luke Walton who may be the one shown the door.
The Athletic’s Bill Oram wrote about Walton and his job security. Within the article lay a tidbit about the Lakers direction this previous summer.
After delivering James in July, (Magic) Johnson ignored the pleas of the coaching staff that he retain Brook Lopez and Julius Randle. Instead, he signed controversial and limited journeymen JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson.
Now to be fair, the Lakers had a grandiose plan that seemed good at the time. But this news, if true, is further proof that the front office is woefully misguided. Re-signing Randle now looks like the best possible move, especially considering no top-tier free agent seems willing to consider the Lakers this summer.
Sure, Randle’s rate may have eaten into the Lakers cap space. Then again, he agreed to just a two-year contract with the Pelicans with a player option for the 2019-2020 season.
Randle is playing over 30 minutes a night now, averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. So, you know, he would have been handy to have around, especially considering the dearth of depth the Lakers have down low.
Speaking of which, Brook Lopez mentioned back in December that he was willing to come back to Los Angeles. Instead, the Lakers went one ill-fated direction and Lopez went another, signing with the Bucks on a one-year deal worth $3.38 million.
Lopez has seen his rebounds and block averages improve since last year as well as his three-point percentage; he’s now shooting 36.7% from distance.
Oram writes, “Walton has a year left on the four-year contract he signed in 2016, and firing the 38-year-old would cause considerable heartburn for officials within the organization who, according to team sources, continue to advocate for him.”
There’s good reason to want Walton to stick around. As James put it recently: “One thing that’s been consistent is the voice of our head coach. Throughout all the injuries, he’s been the one that’s remained the same and consistent throughout the whole year.”
Walton has his issues but hasn’t nearly been the reason the Lakers are throwing in the towel and giving minutes to the back of the bench.
Simply, the Lakers messed up pretty much every move since signing LeBron James. And in that time I have built some serious reservations about a front office that thought it prudent to let Lopez and Randle walk while welcoming in a contingent of veterans that hadn’t played all that many minutes as starters in recent seasons.
The Lakers power duo of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, once lauded for a LeBron coup, have all but erased the goodwill by employing ball handlers and misanthropes over personnel that would fill crucial needs.
Ivica Zubac now rebounds for the Clippers. Lopez shoots and runs the floor for the Bucks and Randle should eventually follow D’Angelo Russell as a former Laker player who becomes an All-Star on another team.
Oram had something interesting to say while holding a