Lakers News: LeBron James Admits LA's Playoff Odds Are 'Slim to None'

Megan ArmstrongContributor IIIMarch 13, 2019

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12:  LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Chicago Bulls on March 12, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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LeBron James has accomplished superhuman feats on the basketball court, but even he can't bend reality in favor of his Los Angeles Lakers with 15 games remaining in the regular season. 

The Lakers are 31-36 and 6.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Speaking to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin on Tuesday, James admitted to seeing what everybody else watching the NBA is seeing.

"It looks like our chances are slim to none after each and every game, and so many teams in the West are playing well," he said. "So you try to get better, but this won't be the last time I'll be in the postseason."

With the Lakers set to miss the postseason, James' streak of appearing in eight consecutive NBA Finals will come to an end. 

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The year was 2005. No one had an iPhone. No one had tweeted. Facebook wasn’t part of the mainstream. And it was the last time the playoffs didn’t have LeBron James. #NBA @bytimreynolds https://t.co/8ITx5o5SpJ

"Obviously, I would love for the team to be in the postseason," James told McMenamin. "Even if I'm not part of it, the postseason I've always loved. But right now, it's not the hand I was dealt, so you play the hand that you were dealt until the dealer shuffles the cards and you're dealt another hand and can do that."

Over half of the Lakers' remaining games are against teams who would be in the playoffs should the season end today. James noted that, while this season won't end the way he wants, competing against playoff teams down the stretch will be "very key" for the development of the young guys on the roster around him.

"They'll get an opportunity to learn, and I get an opportunity to play with them, so we can take that out of it for sure," James added.

While James is looking to make the most of the rest of his first season in L.A., the Lakers have taken steps toward shutting it down. James has been placed on a minutes restriction, per Chris B. Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Second-year point guard Lonzo Ball will not return this season from a sprained ankle suffered on Jan. 19, and the season is also over for third-year swingman Brandon Ingram.

On Monday, James told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press that he "knew what [he] was getting [himself] into" when he decided to sign with the Lakers last summer on a four-year, $154 million contract. 

It's possible that in hindsight, James having this offseason to rest for the first time since 2005 will prove fruitful for the Lakers. James is finishing his 16th season in the NBA and will turn 35 in December. The rest will be especially welcomed following a season in which James missed 17 straight games with a groin injury.

With the break this summer, James can begin constructing a winning roster around him—whether that means finally pulling off a trade for Anthony Davis or making a major splash in free agency with the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and more possibly set to hit the market.