LeBron James: Whoever set up NBA play-in tournament ‘needs to be fired’

Sports
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center, tries to shoot as Toronto Raptors forward Freddie Gillespie, left, guard Malachi Flynn, second from left, guard Rodney Hood, second from right, and center Khem Birch defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, center, tries to shoot as Toronto Raptors forward Freddie Gillespie, left, guard Malachi Flynn, second from left, guard Rodney Hood, second from right, and center Khem Birch defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LeBron James walked down the tunnel toward the Lakers locker room, his ankle sore, his team losing and one giant truth on his mind about the hopes they’ll repeat as NBA champs or even make the playoffs.

“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day, if I’m not 100% or close to 100%,” he said. Whether it’s a spot in the NBA’s play-in tournament with the other bottom-seeded teams or a tough matchup with a fellow Finals contender like the Clippers, all of it is moot if James isn’t healthy.

Two games into his return from more than a month off because of a high right ankle sprain, he doesn’t feel right, his early exit in Sunday’s loss to the Raptors an uncomfortable reminder. And with the Lakers sliding in the standings, James sent a shot toward the NBA league office.

“If we end up in the playoff — whatever that thing is — whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired,” James said. “But whatever.”

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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