When LeBron James committed to the Los Angeles Lakers long-term this summer, many were confused with James’ decision from a basketball standpoint.
Of all the teams that James was rumored to be considering, the Lakers were — and still are — the team furthest away from contending for a title. He could have teamed up with Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston, but he chose L.A. He could have stayed in the east and helped develop the next generation of NBA superstars in Philadelphia, but he chose L.A.
While there is no denying that his interest in becoming a multimedia powerhouse played a part in his decision, James’ goal heading into his 16th season in the league is the game: to win a championship.
With the roster the Lakers have, it might be considered a long shot, but James told beIN Sports he could not be more thrilled to get the season started.
“I’m excited to play with all of them, every last one of them,” James said. “From the guys that were there to all those newcomers that’s come in, so it’s an exciting time for us in L.A.”
Granted, James isn’t expected to say anything less about his new co-workers, but everything else that has come out this summer backs that claim up.
According to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports, people in James’ camp think Brandon Ingram can be the Scottie Pippen to James’ Michael Jordan. With the work Ingram has been putting in this summer, it looks as though he’s going into the season with a similar mindset.
However, it’s not just the Lakers’ exciting young core James is excited to play with. He said everyone, and that includes the signings some felt were questionable.
In an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, James had high praise for the veterans the Lakers brought on this summer (via Dave McMenamin of ESPN)
“We just got guys that love to play basketball,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols as part of a wide-ranging sit-down interview Monday at the opening of his I Promise School. “At the end of the day, guys that love to play ball, and that’s what they do every single day, I love that. I love that, and I think [Rob] Pelinka and Magic [Johnson] love that as well, and that’s why they made the signings. And bringing Lance and JaVale and Beas and Rondo, they’re guys that every day that they wake up, they think about the game of basketball. And everything else is secondary.”
Seeing as James and his new teammates haven’t played a single minute on the floor together outside of practice, this should be taken with a grain of salt. Yes, James might actually be excited to play with his new team now, but will he feel the same way during a four-game losing streak in January? That’s when it matters.
James and his new teammates will hope to hit the ground running, starting with their first preseason game against the playoff hopeful Denver Nuggets on September 30. Let’s hope the Lakers give James a reason to be excited right off the bat.
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