Lakers are burnt out with ‘organizational fatigue’ thanks to LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers are floundering to miss the playoffs for the second time with LeBron James. The ongoing struggles suggest an offseason of significant change ahead to get the franchise back on track as NBA title contenders.

The rebuilt roster fell short of high expectations, pushing the front office into another tough spot. Beyond that, it underscores the “organizational fatigue” that comes with having the star forward.

The Lakers are heading for a disastrous fate

LeBron James in action during a Los Angeles Lakers game. | Cole Burston/Getty Images

After having another busy offseason, the Lakers hoped it would translate into a return to the NBA title fight.

Instead, Los Angeles is floundering to miss the play-in tournament altogether. Due to injuries and lackluster overall roster construction, the team struggled to find consistency.

LeBron James is still playing at the elite level in his 19th campaign, potentially heading for his second scoring title. James remains an ageless wonder, but the rest of the roster hasn’t lifted the team to even competition for the playoffs.

However, the Lakers’ struggles fell into the pattern that all teams eventually experience with James.

Lakers are burnt out with ‘organizational fatigue’ thanks to LeBron James

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Since LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven seasons, he has spent the next phase of his career playing four seasons for three different franchises.

His game plan for playing in these increments saw every organization he adapted to find success, but ran out after he left. Longtime ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst spoke on Stand up from ESPN Wednesday emphasized this notion.

“LeBron’s career works in four-year increments. He exhausts his team. I call it organizational fatigue,” Windhorst said via SI.com. “It happened the first time in Cleveland. They ran out of draft picks, they had a bunch of guys in their thirties. Shaq near the finish line, Antawn Jamison.

“He’s going to Miami, four, a great run, they’re out of draft picks. In his last game, three guys gave up after the game. He goes to Cleveland, four years, great course. They’re out of draft picks. They have old people. Here we are in Los Angeles, fourth year. Oldest team we’ve seen in NBA history, they’re out of draft picks, they’re exhausted.

James is in his fourth season with the Lakers, but his tenure has collapsed, unlike his previous two stops with the Cavaliers (second stint) and Miami Heat. He’s led both franchises to the Finals every season, while the Lakers could potentially miss the playoffs for the second time with the four-time league MVP.

The Lakers have exhausted their roster and resources to best suit James, and the background of his tenure could spell disaster if not handled appropriately. Los Angeles doesn’t seem fully prepared for the massive change whenever the star forward leaves or retires. However, that comes with the territory of trying to compete for an NBA title with the 18-time All-Star.

Ultimately, the Lakers knew what to expect when they landed James and are staying all-out to make the most of his remaining tenure.

Expect the Lakers to undergo a major roster change

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Regardless of how the rest of the 2021-22 campaign plays out, the Lakers are heading into an offseason of significant change.

The franchise wants to restructure the entire roster around James, while head coach Frank Vogel will likely be fired. The toughest task will be moving Russell Westbrook, who will likely exercise the $47 million player option next season.

Westbrook’s league value dropped drastically, forcing the Lakers to include multiple asset projects to generate serious trade talks.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles could explore trades for Anthony Davis due to his ongoing struggles to stay healthy. The front office can assess the market to see what it can bring to the eight-time All-Star. That’s not to say the team wants to get away from him, but the franchise wants to do everything they can to put a championship contender around James.

Los Angeles will have their hands full trying to navigate the mess, but expect them to exercise every avenue to reorganize the roster.

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Aubrey L. Morgan