It seems strange to have a playoffs without LA Lakers superstar LeBron James. He has played in more playoff games than any other player in NBA history (266), but James is watching this season's playoffs at home as a fan.
Since entering the league in 2003, James has missed the playoffs only four times, reaching 10 NBA Finals. But the Lakers finished a dismal 33-49 this season. James, meanwhile, has been vocal on Twitter throughout the playoffs, giving his thoughts about the games.
On "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed" on Friday, sports analyst Skip Bayless talked about how James has been missed. Bayless said fans miss James being on the NBA's biggest stage because of the storylines he provided:
"I do miss LeBron James in these playoffs. He's the most interesting man in sports. Every game he ever plays, there's some bizarre subplot that emerges featuring LeBron James. It's always something with Lebron James.
"And I think the fact that that we have the injuries that we just talked about – Devin Booker and (Khris) Middleton and Luka (Doncic) – they don't even add up to the loss of LeBron. All three of them together don't add up to the loss of LeBron. ... And yet I do think even though he's a fan.
"I think it's sad for him, too. I think it hurts him that he's relegated to tweeting about these games instead of actually playing."
LeBron James and LA Lakers prepare for crucial offseason
The goal for the LA Lakers this offseason is simple: find a formula to get back to the playoffs.
After loading up their roster with veterans, the Lakers saw their season take a dark turn due to injuries and bad play. The organization will have plenty of tough decisions to make. There's going to need to be plenty of moves made to get the Lakers back on track.
With James expected to become a free agent after the 2022-23 season, it will be crucial for the Lakers to build a roster that can contend in the Western Conference.
There will be challenges. The contract situation involving veteran Russell Westbrook is one issue. The fact that the Lakers do not have a first-round pick in this year's draft is another issue.
Los Angeles won the 2020 NBA championship.