Even the Lakers have stopped believing they can contend without a shake-up

Editor’s note: This is the Thursday, Feb. 9 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

LOS ANGELES — Given the circumstances, LeBron James’ fashion choice on Tuesday night was hard to miss. Atop his head, he wore a baseball cap adorned with patches. One of them read: “Awards mean nothing.”

Traditionally to the Lakers, awards and accolades have meant a lot. It meant a lot, for example, when the Lakers constructed a roster of resumes – a who’s who of some of the NBA’s greatest players of, not only their own generation, but NBA history. Four of the 75 greatest players of all time, according to the NBA, are on this year’s Lakers. Combined, the Lakers have two former league MVPs, a collective 54 All-Star appearances and all the other individual accolades any NBA player could hope to collect.

And now, two-thirds of the way through a forlorn 26-29 season, all that has meant nothing.

A 131-116 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks wasn’t just another defeat – it was a breaking point for the team’s own belief in itself. Within the locker room, the Lakers now know that the decorated roster that once held championship ambitions is failing, and with just 27 games remaining in the regular season, there’s no longer any time to wait and hope the group will jell. With the trade deadline…

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