Several months ago when the Los Angeles Lakers were in first place in the Western Conference, LeBron James was a huge supporter of the NBA's play-in tournament idea. Now, he wants the person who came up with that idea to be fired.

That doesn't come as a surprise, as his team is now almost a lock to play in the said tournament after they slid in the standings due to multiple injuries, and some believe that they may not even make the playoffs at all.

If the season were to end today, the Lakers would have to meet Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, which isn't an ideal scenario. Then again, there are still a couple of - unlikely - ways that they could avoid this tournament.

The Lakers Can Still Avoid The Play-In Tournament

The purple-and-gold still have a handful of games left on their regular-season schedule, 4 of them, to be more accurate. There's a chance that they could take down either the Portland Trail Blazers or the Dallas Mavericks.

Both the Mavericks and Blazers own the tiebreaker vs. the Lakers so the only way they catch - and pass them - is by getting a little help from the teams they're about to face until the end of the season.

Right now, the Lakers have a 38-30 record and the only team above .500 they have to face are the New York Knicks. Other than that, they'll meet the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Indiana Pacers.


The Blazers are currently sitting on a 40-29 record and are 1.5 games above Los Angeles. However, they still have to beat the Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns; the top-3 seeded teams in the West. So, should the Lakers go 4-0 or 3-1 and the Blazers 1-2 or 0-3 - respectively, they could still pass them.

As for the Mavericks, they have a 40-28 record and are 2 games above them, so the Lakers would have to go 3-0 or 3-1 and they 1-3 or 0-4. Then again, that seems unlikely, as their only two rivals remaining are the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans.