The soap opera that is the 2018-2019 Los Angeles Lakers continues to slug along as we enter the stretch run of the season.
Here's the latest news, updates, and rumors surrounding the Lakers to start off your week:
Battle for LA
Following another baffling loss to one of the league's worst teams in the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers remain 4.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the 8th seed in the Western Conference, and five games behind the L.A. Clippers for the 7th seed.
Thankfully, the Lakers kick off their week with a matchup against those same Clippers at Staples Center on Monday.
The game is a must-win for the Lakers if they want to make one final push for the playoffs in the Western Conference. A win, would mean gaining a full game on their co-tenants, and a loss could seal their playoff-less fate for good.
The Lakers will be without two, and possibly three key contributors for the game, as point guard Lonzo Ball continues to remain out with an ankle injury, and Lance Stephenson will miss his third consecutive game with a sprained toe. Veteran center Tyson Chandler is questionable with neck stiffness.
Local news from across Southern California
All eyes will be on LeBron James during the game on Monday, as he currently sits in fifth place on the All-Time NBA scoring list, just 39 points behind No. 4 Michael Jordan.
We all know the GOAT debate in the NBA between James and Jordan continue to dominate the water cooler talks at offices across the country, but James passing Jordan in scoring could certainly be a notch in his belt for when he retires and the discussion advances.
Shaq Sounds Off
Speaking of James, former Lakers' legend Shaquille O'Neal came to his defense in his podcast (or Shaqcast) on Monday when it came to the way James seemingly calls out his teammates both on the court and off.
O'Neal stated: "What the hell are you supposed to do?" when it came to calling out teammates who are playing not up to par, and said that he used to do that stuff all the time in his playing days, "Why do you think Kobe and me had beef?"
O'Neal said that initially, teammates get "mad" when you confront them about how they're playing, but eventually, they are going to play hard. Despite Shaq being on LeBron's side when it comes to his leadership tactics, not everyone agrees with him.
Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd sounded off on his morning television show on Monday saying that LeBron is a "lousy leader" this year.
Snoop Dogg Selling Lakers Seats for $5
Shaq and Cowherd weren't the only ones to sound off about the Lakers over the weekend. Longtime Lakers' fanatic, and LA native, Snoop Dogg, offered his two-cents on an expletive-filled viral rant following the Lakers loss to the lowly Suns on Saturday.
In the NSFW video, Snoop says the Lakers should fire head coach Luke Walton, and get LeBron some help (putting it mildly). Snoop called the supporting cast around LeBron "goofballs," and said he would sell his box seats to the Lakers for the remainder of the season for the low price of $5.
"I got a booth for the next two, three years," said Snoop in the profanity-laced tirade. "This year, y'all can have it. Five dollars for the [expletive] booth to the Lakers games. Five dollars is the price. Anybody can have it, all the homies, hit me up, blow me up right now."
Carmelo Anthony Not Coming to L.A.
Since the day the Houston Rockets announced they were moving on from Carmelo Anthony, rumors of his eventual landing spot with the Lakers spread like wildfires.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers and Carmelo Anthony had been talking about a possible contract for the remainder of the season.
However, after losing seven of their last ten games, both parties have placed those talks on pause as the possibility of making the playoffs continue to fade after each game.
The Lakers were initially waiting for the NBA's March 1st deadline to see if any players would come available via buyout that could help Los Angeles make one final push. Outside of Pau Gasol (who signed with the Milwaukee Bucks), Anthony appeared to be the best player still out there.
However, now that it appears the Lakers won't be making the playoffs, those minutes that could have gone to the 34-year-old Anthony, might be better suited for some younger players on the team's G-League affiliate the South Bay Lakers.
Now it's possible should the Lakers go on a winning streak that talks could continue with Anthony, but the team's biggest flaw continues to be defense, not offense. Regardless, it does not appear that Anthony makes a lot of sense for the Lakers at this point and time, and players like Marcin Gortat or Greg Monroe, who could help protect the rim on the defensive end, might be more apropos should the Lakers make one last push for the postseason.
The Lakers will tip-off at 7:30PM PT tonight against the Clippers at Staples Center.