12:03 PM ET
The Los Angeles Lakers will miss the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. LeBron James‘ season will end in April for the first time since 2004-05, his second year in the NBA, snapping personal streaks of 13 straight postseason appearances and eight straight NBA Finals berths.
There is rarely a single moment that derails a team’s entire season. For the 2018-19 Lakers, there is plenty of blame to go around. From injuries, to underwhelming player production, to questionable management decisions, the most anticipated season in L.A. in years morphed into a cautionary tale that could be retold around the league for decades. This is how the Lakers got here.
IN THE SUMMER of 2017, long before LeBron slipped on a purple and gold uniform and before Lance Stephenson was the star of “Air Band Cam” on the Jumbotron at Staples Center, Paul George was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
George, a Southern California native who long stated his desire to return to play near his Palmdale home, was perceived to be a rental player on an expiring contract. Just taking a pit stop with the Thunder before joining the lineage of