Despite the fact that the New Orleans Pelicans rested Anthony Davis in their game on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers, things ended with another ugly loss for Los Angeles, as the visiting Pelicans outclassed the Lakers and easily pulled off the 128-115 win. This dropped the Lakers to a 29-30 record, which still has them 10th in the Western Conference, but also puts the team three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs, who are tied at No. 7 with identical 33-28 records.
Appearing on Monday morning’s edition of ESPN’s Get Up!, analyst Jalen Rose commented on how the Lakers have gone 9-16 since Christmas, and how he predicted around that time that the trade rumors surrounding Davis would eventually damage the team’s chemistry. As quoted by ClutchPoints, Rose added that those rumors indeed “tore the Lakers’ locker room apart,” leaving several players unsure of their future in Los Angeles.
“Of course the players are going to out and compete, because they’re professionals, but you got to start paying attention to the name on the back of the jersey, because now all of a sudden — am I renting? am I leasing? am I going to be here?”
After pointing out how the Lakers have struggled mightily since Christmas, Rose posited that it doesn’t seem likely that the team will reach the playoffs on the strength of four-time MVP LeBron James’ play. He said that there’s a good chance the Lakers will miss the playoffs mainly because they play in the Western Conference, which has become “a lot tougher” in the 2018-19 NBA season.
According to ClutchPoints, Rose’s comments about dissension in the Lakers’ locker room are in line with how team president Magic Johnson invited his players to clear the air and address the fallout of Los Angeles’ failure to trade for Anthony Davis prior to the February 7 trade deadline. While Johnson stressed that the Lakers need to remain professional despite how many players were included in Davis-related trade rumors, ClutchPoints opined that doing so is “a lot easier said than done,” especially when it comes to the team’s young core.
Rose’s remarks about how the myriad Anthony Davis trade rumors from previous weeks might have demoralized the Lakers came shortly after James and fellow veteran Rajon Rondo openly talked about the things their teammates need to do if they want to make the postseason. Speaking to reporters after Saturday’s loss to the Pelicans, James questioned the Lakers’ “sense of urgency” and brought up their hesitation to step out of their comfort zone, while Rondo mentioned the team’s subpar defense, as well as the need to “start buying into each other” as the playoff race heats up, as quoted in a report from ESPN.