The concept of a rebuilding year with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers has people going insane.
How dare a team with James on it also care about developing its youth?! The horror! The horror!
Despite having seen legitimately good to great NBA teams get meaningful contributions from young players, people still seem hung up on the fact that the Lakers are gambling on their young core’s development.
Somehow, the idea of leaning on guys like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart means the Lakers are more focused on team building than competing, but LeBron told Rachel Nichols of ESPN he simply doesn’t see it that way.
RN: A lot of these are one-year contracts. The Lakers talked about wanting that flexibility still for next summer. A lot of big free agents could be available then. You’re turning 34 this season, though. How do you feel about the idea that what could be one of the last years of your prime is going to be more of a building year?
LJ: I don’t even look at it like that, ‘cause I don’t feel like this is one of the last years of my prime. I think that’s another statistic number, and I’ve always been a part of beating the odds in life. Being around my kids allow -- it gives me even more and more time in my youth. I don’t feel like this is even a rebuilding year for us. We have an opportunity to do something that a lot of people don’t think we can do. And we love the notion of, “it’s another rebuilding year and we don’t have enough.” So that will motivate the guys that we have anyway.
LeBron continues to say all the right things as he heads into what will undoubtedly be an incredibly interesting first year with the Lakers.
Since reports surfaced about his agreement to sign in L.A., we’ve heard nothing other than his interest in watching this young team develop, and now that he’s speaking publicly about being a Laker for the first time, hearing him echo that sentiment has been a real treat.
James mentioning how he might feel younger as a result of being around his kids a lot is also interesting, because maybe being around such a young Lakers team might have a somewhat similar effect. That impact could go a long way in ensuring he plays with the kind of energy consistently needed to compete in the insanely tough Western Conference.
As we all know, an energized LeBron can be quite the daunting experience for opponents. An energized LeBron with something to prove — as he alludes to — should be downright electrifying.