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LeBron James Injury Update: Is the Lakers All-Star starter playing tonight against the Hornets?

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LeBron James Injury Update: Is the Lakers All-Star starter playing tonight against the Hornets?

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Halfway through the 2021-22 NBA season, things haven’t exactly gone as planned for the Los Angeles Lakers, who find themselves behind the pack in contention.

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Sitting in ninth place (24-25) in the Western Conference, 3.0 games behind the Denver Nuggets in sixth and 15.0 games behind the conference-leading Phoenix Suns, the Lakers are squarely in the Play-In lineup. with serious work. To do.

LeBron James injury update

Although LeBron James has played some of the best basketball of his career, their season has been somewhat derailed by injuries and lack of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, as well as Russell’s slow start to life. Westbrook in Los Angeles. James missed Thursday’s 18-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers as they once again fell to the wrong side of .500 heading into the second straight night in Charlotte.

The team announced shortly before the whistleblower Thursday that James would not play, signing him overnight with a knee injury. It was the 13th game he missed this season, with the Lakers going 5-8 in games he missed.

The good news? Eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis is back in the lineup, returning for Tuesday night’s 106-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Davis had missed the Lakers’ previous 17 games after sustaining a sprained left MCL on Dec. 17 in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Lakers had gone 10-10 in the games Davis missed this season.

Los Angeles’ visit to Brooklyn was Game 3 of a six-game road trip that continues with games against the 76ers, Hornets and Hawks, with a clash against defending champion Bucks the following week. In their seven games remaining before the trade deadline, they only play two teams above .500 and outside of their game against the Bucks, on paper they have the opportunity to make a great run and catch up in the standings.

According to Tankathon, the Lakers have the third toughest schedule remaining this season and their next set of games before the trade deadline could prove crucial in the direction their season takes.

Lakers 2021-22 upcoming schedule

Dated Opponent Time (ET) National television
January 28 among the hornets 7:30 p.m. ESPN
January 30 among the hawks 1:00 p.m.
February 2 vs. Trail Blazers 10:00 p.m.
February 3 at Clippers 10:00 p.m. DTT
February 5 against the Knicks 8:30 p.m. ABC
February 8 against dollars 10:00 p.m. DTT
February 9 at Trail Blazers 10:00 p.m.

With their full roster back on the floor, this next set of games will give them a good indication of where they stand, amid swirling speculation that some changes may be on the way.

It’s no secret that the Lakers need something to change and while Davis’ return might just be the lightning rod to spark a run and get them back on track, their roster issues go deeper than of simply missing Davis for a long time.

Head coach Frank Vogel’s job security has been the subject of recent speculation, with reports that he is “coaching for his job” as the Lakers struggle to gain traction in the Western Conference. A poor streak before the trade deadline could prove to be the final straw for the Lakers front office, which is desperately trying to make the most of what remains of LeBron James’ championship window. (Although it looks like it could last another 10 years)

With limited salary cap flexibility and almost no working capital, it will be difficult to act on the deadline. The Russell Westbrook-sized elephant in the room is the easiest to point with the nine-time All-Star struggling to make a consistent impact on the team’s offense, on average 18.6 points (his lowest since 2009-10), 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game on 44.1/29.9/67.5 separate shots – not to mention he earns 44 million dollars this season and has a $47 million player option in 2022-23.

“The challenge is how do I be this team’s version of myself, that’s what I’m trying to figure out,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “I want to improve as the season progresses, and I have to take responsibility for what I do and how I make those around me better. We have a legitimate chance to win it all, and to do that I will have to be better and I know I will be.

(Getty Images)

Finding a buyer for Westbrook will be difficult, with Rockets guard John Wall a name that has been thrown around in recent days. The Undefeated Marc Spears reported on Tuesday The Hoop Collective podcast, that the only “realistic” target for the Rockets to make a deal for Wall would be for Westbrook, however, would they be looking to get Westbrook off the bench if here were to suit them? It seems unlikely.

“I’ve been told they have a couple on the table, several on the table, but the only one that really, you know, has realistic potential is with the Lakers for Russ. In fact, they do, I don’t know if it’s almost the same dollar, but a similar salary, so you can trade them one for one without including anyone else. That 2027 Laker pick that you mentioned earlier, that first-round pick, seems be quite coveted, and I would expect that to be included in such a deal. But John is in Miami. He’s training. He actually asked the Rockets for permission to be in Miami so he could be close to his children and focus on training.

NBA reporter Marc Stein reported that if Westbrook ended up in Houston, they would likely seek him out for a buyout, with the primary goal of getting Wall’s contract out and acquiring the Lakers’ 2027 draft pick.

MORE: Lakers, Warriors among most interesting teams at trade deadline

Wall, who hasn’t played a single game for the Rockets this season, on paper seems like a better fit than Westbrook, but is it a move that puts them above it? Probably not.

Kendrick Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker have also been suspended in trade talks with future asset projects, but what the Lakers might get in return remains unclear.

If the Lakers are able to string together a series of games before the trade deadline, with their full roster on deck, maybe the trade talks will die down, but as things stand, something has to change for the Lakers, whether on the roster or the coaching staff, we’ll just have to wait and see.

LeBron James Injury Update: Is the Lakers All-Star starter playing tonight against the Hornets?

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