LeBron James HATES the idea of the NBA's new postseason play-in tournament ... saying straight-up Sunday night, "Whoever came with that s*** needs to be fired."
It's shocking that LBJ and the Lakers are even in a position to possibly need the extra games to lock in a playoff spot -- but after losing 6 of their last 7, it's becoming very real now.
And, James is clearly NOT happy about it.
LBJ went off on the league's new postseason rule after L.A. fell 121-114 to the Raptors ... explaining he believes teams who finish the regular season in the top 8 should advance, no play-in games required.
FYI -- the NBA implemented the new rule this year where the 7 through 10 seeds will have to battle it out to be the official 7 and 8 seeds of the playoff bracket.
The games will start on May 18 ... a couple days before the real postseason tips off.
The Lakers -- who got off to a roaring 21-6 start but have since seen their record fall to 36-28 as they've battled a ton of injuries -- are the current 6th seed in the West ... but they're just one loss away from the dreaded 7 spot.
And, with LeBron -- who's missed most of the last two months with a sore ankle -- still ailing ... it's possible he won't even play in Monday night's crucial game against the Nuggets.
But, LBJ said he won't compromise his health to make sure the Lake Show avoids the play-in games ... explaining, "It doesn't matter at the end of the day if I'm not 100% or close to 100%. It don't matter where we land."
The Lakers have just 8 games left before the potential play-in tournament begins.
By the way ... others in the league have been critical of the postseason plan as well -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called the tourney an "enormous mistake" last month.