Lakers prove they may not need LeBron James with win over Bucks

Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers
Philadelphia 76ers v Los Angeles Lakers / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

For the second time this season the Los Angeles Lakers were set to face the Milwaukee Bucks without LeBron James. Just like the first matchup between the two teams, the Lakers pulled off the shocking upset with Tuesday's win taking two overtime periods.

Anthony Davis did something that no Laker had done since Kobe Bryant, Austin Reaves put in a vintage playoff-style performance and the Lakers stormed back from a huge deficit to get the win. With only 10 more games remaining, every single outcome counts and this could be a huge one for the Lakers.

It also may have long-term implications for the team as well. While LeBron James is undoubtedly the most important player on the team this season, Los Angeles has proven that there is a strong core around Anthony Davis that can win games. With LeBron having a player option this summer, games like this could swing the front office's decision and the Lakers' future

Lakers proved they may not need LeBron James with win over Bucks

Los Angeles obviously needs LeBron James this season if the team wants any chance of going on a deep playoff run, that goes without question. But in the long run, games like Tuesday's make it more apparent that the Lakers can survive if LeBron moves on.

After all, LeBron is reportedly looking for a new contract that will pay him over $100 million over multiple seasons. As great as LeBron is, there is an inherent risk in paying someone who will be in his 40s a top-tier salary.

For his entire career, LeBron has been able to leverage his ability to get exactly what he wanted from his teams. Now, the shoe is on the other foot as the Lakers have the leverage, and LeBron doesn't really have anywhere to go.

Yes, LeBron could leave and sign with any other team in the league on a discount but when it comes to $100 million contracts, there really is not a fit. The teams with cap space this summer are bad, and LeBron is going to be more concerned with either winning a title or playing with his son.

This gives the Lakers leverage. They know that they don't necessarily need LeBron James to be successful in the future. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice to have him, but the team does not need to bend over backward to make him happy.

Anthony Davis and this core isn't good enough to win a title this season but it is good enough to have a 6-4 record in games LeBron hasn't played. With 1-2 good moves, this core absolutely could contend, even without LeBron James.