Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James’ free agency plans questioned after loss to Indiana Pacers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 6: (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 6: (Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers are not in the postseason, but their fans should be keeping a close eye on the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers.

The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t in the postseason, but their fans should be keeping a close eye on what is going on.

On Sunday afternoon, the Indiana Pacers pulled off the unthinkable by defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-80. The Pacers are a good team that threatened to challenge James in the first round. Though, few people expected them to win in Cleveland in Game 1.

The Pacers were led by Victor Oladipo‘s breakout performance with 32 points and six rebounds, per ESPN. The fifth-year guard from Indiana University shot 6-of-9 from deep to lead a balanced Pacers attack.

Though James and company fought back hard in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t enough. The Pacers punished the 29th ranked Cavaliers defense with 38 points in the paint to lead the Cavs the entire game.

This loss was shocking for the Cavs and LeBron. Many assumed LeBron would find his second-gear and tear through the early rounds of the playoffs per usual. However, the Game 1 loss snapped LeBron’s 21-game win streak in the first round of the playoffs. LeBron hasn’t lost a game in the first round of the playoffs since 2012 against the New York Knicks.

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Furthermore, according to BasketballReference.com, LeBron has never lost a Game 1 in the first round. Whether with the Cavs or the Miami Heat, a LeBron team has never started off the first round with a loss. These facts make the loss to the Pacers more significant. Despite LeBron James posting a triple-double in the loss, the Cavaliers see themselves in a 0-1 hole.

So what does this all mean for Lakers fans? Well, if we are hoping for LeBron to arrive in Los Angeles anytime soon, we should be hoping for an abnormally early exit for James and the Cavaliers.

Losing early in the playoffs, especially with new teammates like Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance  Jr. playing poorly, could convince LeBron that a change scenery is necessary for the 2018-2019 season.

Lebron was asked after the game about his new teammates’ lacking experience in the playoffs and how that affected their games. He said that adjusting to the pace of a playoff game was the hardest adjustment for them.

LeBron has forced himself out of series’ holes in the past, most famously the 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. However, if Clarkson and others continue their poor play, LeBron’s heroics may not be enough to save them.

An early exit from the playoffs bodes well for the Lakers’ pitch to James. A frustrated LeBron could be convinced that the twilight years of his career are best spent with the Lakers. They boast a young squad and cap space to sign an additional max-level free agent to pair with James.

Next: 10 Greatest Free Agent Signings In Lakers History

Lakers fans should be following the Cavaliers closely in the playoffs. If we are to have a shot at LeBron James, we need him to bow out early this postseason.