LeBron James’ California dream turned into a nightmare.
LeBron James’ California dream turned into a nightmare.

Trade horror: LeBron ‘raspberrries’ teammates

The first year of LeBron in L.A. is slowly dragging to its death, but it now has a fitting tagline.

"That experiment?" James told ESPN, waiting a few seconds before making a raspberry sound with his lips.

"THBPBPTHPT!"

The experiment was surrounding James not with a fellow All-Star - after the Lakers never even got a chance to land Paul George, as they had been expected to - or shooters, but playmakers signed to one-year deals to keep their cap flexibility in line for this summer.

A combination of growing pains, injuries, poor trades, looming trades that never happened and bad chemistry all contributed to the Lakers missing out on the playoffs, entering Friday 33-42 with seven games left in a season to forget.

The ESPN report claims the team's roster assembling issues can be traced back to their failure to land George's signature.

The roster issues were there for all to see very early in the season.

NBC NBA reporter James Herbert wrote in July that it all looked like going wrong for the Lakers back in July, 2018, when James finally confirmed his move.

"The Lakers could definitely use a sharpshooter on the wing and a stretch-four. If they don't add anybody who fits either of those descriptions, they will be betting on internal improvement," the report claimed of the team around James in California.

"Kyle Kuzma might be able to bring his 36.6 per cent three-point percentage up when he's receiving passes from the likes of James, Rondo and an improved Ball.

"As funky as Ball's shot looks, he could become more consistent with his long-range jumper in his second season."

It has been a frustrating season for James, who hasn't hidden his disdain while also missing 17 games with an injury.

His poor body language was even the focus of a players-only meeting in late February, ESPN reported, when he admitted that he was trying to eliminate it.

James didn't help the feeling in the locker room around the trade deadline when he openly campaigned for Anthony Davis, which would have sent some of his own teammates packing and left them hearing "LeBron's gonna trade you" chants in Indiana.

His year of living pathetically.
His year of living pathetically.

"The only players whose play hasn't been affected by the trade talks are James and Rajon Rondo," a team source told ESPN.

But the failed season also included missteps at the top that had others, including former Lakers icon and current Clippers consultant Jerry West, laughing at their expense, the network reported, after a strange trade.

The Lakers offered promising 22-year-old centre Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley to the Clippers for veteran Mike Muscala, which the Clippers gladly accepted.

The Lakers were reportedly hoping to open a roster spot for someone who could help with their playoff push, but that second shoe never dropped.

Zubac helped Clippers secure a playoff spot while the Lakers will watch from home.