Lakers Search for Answers, With and Without LeBron James

James could miss multiple games because of coronavirus protocols, but the Lakers have struggled even when he has played.

Before the start of the N.B.A. season, LeBron James acknowledged one of the hard realities facing the Los Angeles Lakers. The team had once again rebuilt its roster in pursuit of a championship, and James said he knew that forming chemistry would be a process, that nothing would come easily — at least not right away. James illustrated his point by making an analogy.

“I don’t think it’s going to be like peanut butter and jelly to start the season,” he said in September.

James seemed to be carefully managing expectations rather than

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