Antawn Jamison plays basketball too well to be a cheerleader.
The latest news out of LA is that the Los Angeles Lakers’ 36-year-old forward believes he’s getting screwed over by new head coach Mike D’Antoni when it comes to playing time.
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported that, after he kept his warmups on for the fifth straight game, Jamison hadn’t experienced anything like his recent lack of playing time in his entire career. He said:
Not this. 15 years. My only thing is let me know why. I don’t think you go from starting and 30-something minutes to not in the rotation whatsoever. And not explaining to me what exactly happened, that’s the toughest thing. There’s nothing you can do but be positive and support your teammates. The only reason I came here was they said I was going to play and to win a championship.
Los Angeles definitely isn’t holding up the first half of their end of the bargain. And to a two-time All-Star who just averaged 17.2 points per game last season—only two less than his career average of 19.2 a contest—the benching has to feel extremely disrespectful.
The fact that Jamison put up such solid scoring numbers in 2012 proves he still has value. So instead of letting him to rot away on the bench, LA must either trade him to the highest bidder (no matter how low the top offer may be) or play him.
Despite not allowing him to see the floor, D’Antoni claimed he still wants Jamison on the team. He said (via Los Angeles Times):
Everybody gets another chance and stuff. We’re playing nine guys and I’m really liking Metta [World Peace]. We don’t want to lose Antawn because he does what he does. We’ll see. Antawn’s ready to roll if we need him.
Thank goodness Jamison does what he does or the Lakers would be lost without him.
Wait. What does he do? All he’s done the last five games is ride the pine.
It’s obvious Jamison isn’t pleased. The last thing Los Angeles needs right now is locker room tension as it attempts to turn its season around. It must either rid itself of Jamison or give the man minutes.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.