Chris Mannix

Mannix: LeBron, Lakers will fall short of postseason

Mannix: LeBron, Lakers will fall short of postseason

After reaching the NBA Finals in eight straight seasons while shouldering an unprecedented workload, the idea of LeBron James missing the playoffs entirely sounds blasphemous.

Chris Mannix, however, thinks, with their current roster, the new-look Lakers will fall short of the postseason for the sixth straight season.

“It’s the island of misfit toys out there...and LeBron James,” said Mannix.

The Lakers finished the 2017-18 NBA season 35-47, 12 games behind the eighth-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.

“You have to assume it’s 48 wins to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference,” Mannix added. “I don’t see that team making up that difference.”

James wasn’t the only addition Los Angeles made, however, bringing in veterans Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, Javale McGee, and resigning Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

If the Lakers do miss the playoffs, it will be James’ first missed postseason since the 2004-05 season, when his Cleveland Cavaliers fell short despite the 20-year-old James averaging over 27 points per game.

Stevens won't talk to Kyrie about free agency this season

Stevens won't talk to Kyrie about free agency this season

As Brad Stevens approaches this season with the Celtics team he thought he would have a year ago, there's one thing he's not going to do with potential 2019 free agent Kyrie Irving, and that's look a year ahead.

Of Irving's looming free agency after this season, Stevens tells Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix on Mannix's podcast: “I’m not going to talk to him about it at all. One of the things I want to do is give everything I can to all these guys while they’re here. Hopefully, the people that are here recognize that it’s a really good environment with a high upside for a long time. It’s someplace that will be committed to them, committed to their overall game and enhancement and off the court and everything else. There’s no real discussion to be had. It’s more, ‘We can’t wait to get to work.’ ”

Vegas has the Celtics as the favorites to retain Irving, with the Knicks close behind.

Stevens knows expectations have been raised after his team reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals and now that the obstacle of LeBron James has been removed from the East. He says his team is "itching to get started."

"As long as you're in this though, you're just focused on what's next. You don't think of it like a college season where you hand out awards and have a banquet at the end," Stevens said. "We were all disappointed with how it ended. That was the beauty of that team — it didn’t really buy into everybody else’s thoughts...We’ll all improve from the experience, but there’s no question, we’re itching to get started.”

After having just four returning players a year ago and losing his top two players in their debut seasons in Boston - Irving to a knee injury from March through the playoffs and Gordon Hayward with a leg and ankle injury just five minutes into the opener - Stevens is looking forward to having continuity on his roster.

"Obviously, we've had so much change in the past five years, that we were really prioritizing maintaining some continuity this year, especially with Kyrie and Gordon coming back from injury," he said.

Stevens said improving day-by-day will let the Celtics' big expectations take care of themselves.

“The beautiful part of keeping a day-to-day mindset of trying to improve every day is that no matter what your expectations are — whether you are at the beginning or the building stage or you have a team like we do, that’s bringing a lot of guys back, that is trying to reach a next step, or you’re Golden State and you have won three of the last four championships — if you’re focused on the day and getting better that day, everything takes care of itself," he said. "Our challenge is to be the best version of ourselves.”

While he won't talk free agency with Kyrie, Stevens will talk "Uncle Drew" after seeing Irving's movie with the C's Summer League team.

"We rented out a movie theater for our summer league team and we all watched "Uncle Drew", Stevens said. "I thought it was really good. I thought Kyrie did a great job. My kids love it. It's fun to be that close to an actor."