After Monday's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers' playoff dreams are more distant than ever before. As a result, the outside noise that has followed the team all season is at maximum volume. But, LeBron James let it be known that if the rumblings and rumors affect how a player approaches the game than L.A. might not be the place for them.
"No. At this point, if you’re still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come in and be like, 'Listen, I can’t do this," James said when asked if the off-court talks have impacted the team's chemistry.
He then went on to explain that as a player this pressure is something "you should want."
"Just come and do your job and we do our job at a high level," James said. "That's not a distraction that's what you want. Every game you want to feel like you're fighting for something."
These comments come after LeBron chastised his teammates for their lack of "urgency" in their previous loss against the New Orleans Pelicans. From the nature of his responses, it is clear to see that James understands the position his team is in. Although he claims to relish in the weight of the expectations, his Lakers are on pace to have a very disappointing season. With just 22 regular season games left, James must lift the Lakers out of the 11th seed or he'll miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
In addition, the Lakers' dedicated fan base makes the city a difficult place to have a "rebuilding" phase. Adding to the talks of disconnect and potential trades/firings, a few overly dedicated fans have made it their business to put the heat on LeBron by threatening to burn their James jerseys.