LeBron: Whoever invented play-in tournament 'needs to be fired'

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Add LeBron James to the list of those who vehemently oppose a play-in tournament this season.

"Whoever came up with that shit needs to be fired," he said after the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, according to The Athletic's Bill Oram.

With Sunday's defeat, the Lakers fell into a three-way tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers for fifth through seventh in the Western Conference. Whichever team occupies seventh at the end of the season will need to beat the eighth-place team to immediately progress to the first round of the playoffs.

The loser of that game faces the winner of a matchup between the ninth and 10th seeds to determine the final playoff team in the West.

The Lakers weren't expected to be in the range of the play-in tournament. However, they are 1-4 since Anthony Davis returned from a two-month absence due to an Achilles issue and have lost two straight with James back in the lineup.

They still have eight games to play in the regular season, but their next four are against some of the conference's top teams: the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns.

To make matters more pressing, James left Sunday's loss to the Toronto Raptors early with soreness in his right ankle - the same one that recently sidelined him for 20 games. He'll be re-evaluated Monday.

James isn't the only one to criticize the new play-in format for this season. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and franchise star Luka Doncic also aired concerns with the idea in April.

LeBron: Whoever invented play-in tournament 'needs to be fired'
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