LeBron James certainly turned lots of heads and raised plenty of eyebrows with his comments after the team’s loss to the Heat. After the team’s fifth loss in six games, he publicly called out the front office and franchise for the collective failure (so far) to compete at the highest level this season.
While it was viewed as a not-so-thinly-veiled message to the front office to do anything to improve the roster, it could also pretty easily be seen as a message to the roster itself that they aren’t good enough. It does not, however, appear to have come across that way to the team itself, or at least all of them.
“He’s right,” AD said, via Spectrum SportsNet. “I’m pretty sure everybody in the league wants to be competitive and compete for championships. It sucks to lose, especially coming off last year. And then you come into this year and you start 2-10 and you make a run and then we started retracted what we were doing, it’s tough.
“He’s not getting any younger. Of course, it only makes sense he wants to compete for championships in the ‘x’ amount of years he has left in him. I took nothing from it. I took it for exactly what it was, for what he said, and I feel like it’s a true statement.”
Naturally, AD probably wouldn’t disagree with LeBron’s assessment considering he’s the other star of the team and could very well feel the same way. And he’s not one of the players that haven’t been playing at a championship level this season.
Davis wasn’t the only one who spoke out about the comments, though, as Juan Toscano-Anderson, who won a title with the Warriors, said after Friday’s game, as Kyle Goon of the OC Register wrote.
Toscano-Anderson, who spent his last few seasons with future Hall of Famers at Golden State, said he found James’ words in line with what the team wants to achieve.
“I actually appreciate the pressure, I like the pressure,” Toscano-Anderson said. “I know what championship basketball looks like, I know what high-level basketball looks like. That’s what they expect. … You gotta step up to the plate. It’s a man’s game.”
While most took James’ comments as a plea for help, it’s not surprising the Lakers themselves have treated it like a challenge. They’re just as dissatisfied with the team’s standing so far as LeBron, their words may just not carry as much weight as his.
If JTA or another role player said they were expecting to compete for championships, no one would bat an eye. But they likely feel the same way. As much as it could be construed as a subtweet to the roster and front office, LeBron’s message appears to have come off as a challenge to the team, which feels like an all-around win-win scenario.