Los Angeles Laker LeBron James was the latest star to rip the NBA’s play-in tournament format after the Lakers lost to the Toronto Raptors 121-114 on Sunday.
James and the Lakers dropped their third game in a row and six of their last seven.
LA is now in a three-way tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers for spots five through seven in the cramped Western Conference.
The team now faces the possibility of being in the play-in tournament as they get all of their players healthy for their playoff run, but James doesn’t believe the Lakers’ seeding will play a role in their title defense.
Still, he is not a fan of the new play-in tournament.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if I’m not 100 percent, or close to 100 percent,” James said.
“It don’t matter where we land. That’s my mindset. If it happens we end up sixth or fifth, whatever the case may be, or we end up in the playoff, whatever that thing is. Whoever came up with that (expletive) needs to be fired. But whatever.”
After missing 20 games with a sprained right ankle, James played in his second game back from injury.
He did not finish Sunday’s game leaving the game with ankle soreness.
LA has gone 8-12 without James, while also welcoming back Anthony Davis from an extended absence of an injury of his own.
Without their two big stars, the Lakers have fallen in the standings, begging the question of whether the top-seeded Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz should try to avoid the defending champs in the first round.
Under the new play-in format, teams 7-10 in the standings will play to determine the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference.
Seven will play eight, with the winner getting the No. 7 seed.
Nine will play ten, with the winner then playing the loser of the seven-eight game for the No. 8 seed.