Lakers coach Luke Walton candid on elimination from playoffs

Kobe Bryant Lakers Knicks

They were officially eliminated from the playoff race following a defeat to the Brooklyn Nets last time out.

The last time the NBA's best player was not in the postseason was in 2004-05, his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But those players, as good as they both are, are a far cry from the expectations Lakers fans and the Lakers organization have for roster moves.

The Los Angeles Lakers are out of the playoff picture - nothing new in that sentence.

The Lakers would not be able to sustain yet another season without bringing in another star player to run with James and they are certain to be regretting not making a concrete offer for Leonard in the summer before he was traded to the Toronto Raptors by San Antonio Spurs.

He missed 17 games with a groin injury earlier this season and is all but assured of playing the fewest games of his 16-year career. "But you don't even try to wrap your head around it, you just keep pushing".

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The four-time league MVP also had his eight-year run to the National Basketball Association finals snapped on Friday night as the loss takes the lowly Lakers out of the playoff picture for a franchise-record sixth straight season. The play-offs is never a promise.

"You came to L.A. for a 'ship". The 36-year-old is recording 14.3 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.8 rebounds a game this season. "Hopefully I can be in as many games as possible down the stretch".

With nothing but potentially improving their lottery odds to play for, the Lakers still have 10 regular-season games to play.

"I think he's at a critical stage right now because there are going to be people pulling him from every direction", Bryant said in Q&A session with The Athletic.

"They only want us to go out and perform at a high level and play the game at a high level so we can be mentioned with some of the great teams in the league at that point in time". "I know hooping isn't going to be here forever, so I love to get out there and compete".

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