Lakers: 3 reasons this weird season helps LeBron James now and later

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Los Angeles Lakers
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This weird 2020 season for the Los Angeles Lakers helps LeBron James.

To say the least, the 2019-20 NBA season has been a tumultuous one for the Los Angeles Lakers. But in the long run, the long COVID-19 hiatus could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for LeBron James.

When LeBron James signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in July 2018, fans of the Purple and Gold dreamt of at least one additional championship banner being added to the rafters of Staples Center.

His first season wasn’t exactly a banner season for the Purple and Gold, as the team was hit with a rash of injuries. As a result, the Lakers ended up plunging from fourth place in the Western Conference on Christmas Day to a pathetic 10th place finish at season’s end.

Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka quickly rectified the situation, cashing in blue-chippers Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart for superstar big man Anthony Davis early last summer.

Thus, the Lakers entered the 2019-20 season with championship expectations. But things didn’t really go according to plan.

First was the controversy over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet regarding the protests in Hong Kong during the exhibition season. In response, James made what seemed like an innocuous statement, but instead, it created a minor controversy.

Morey’s original comments caused a rift between the NBA and China. For many years, China has represented a good chunk of the league’s foreign market and revenue.

Then came the untimely death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in late January, which caused emotional trauma for everyone in the organization, particularly James.

But all that was nothing compared to the novel coronavirus pandemic. On March 11, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the remainder of the regular season just after Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

The pandemic threatened to derail what was already a hugely successful season for the Lakers. They had run out to a 49-14 record and were coming off back-to-back statement wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.

Now that the season is set to resume on July 30, the long hiatus can actually be a boon to the 35-year-old James.