Considering this is his 13th season in the NBA, it’s easy to forget the Los Angeles Lakers also acquired Channing Frye in last week’s trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Isaiah Thomas, a former MVP candidate and self-described ‘lifelong Laker fan,’ naturally drew the bulk of the attention.
But if Frye has any say in the matter, his presence with the organization will be felt. “My main goal is to help these kids win and understand this is an every day thing,” Frye said after practice on Monday.
“Every day we’re coming out here to compete to give ourselves the best chance to win and grow. I was just laughing with Miles, they move so fast and they’re just so young, the game of basketball is generally simple but they move so fast sometimes they don’t read the defense and do stuff like that.
“Every day I’m not only playing, but trying to teach and help and make sure they have good winning habits.”
Frye won a championship with the Cavaliers last season, was part of a team that had similar aspirations this year despite internal turmoil, and now joins an organization that’s still building toward restoring itself.
Rather than allowing that to serve as a weight bogging him down at this juncture of his career, Frye is embracing the situation. “It is a different mindset,” he said.
“Really, what is my motivation? What is the thing that’s going to get me focused and locked in? It’s just the experience of helping these kids grow, the experience of winning and their appreciation of winning.
“Some of the best years that I’ve had in this league are teams that have been counted out. We make the playoffs, or even if we get close to the playoffs, it’s exceeding expectations and having fun growing.”
Frye spoke fondly of playing for his former collegiate teammate Luke Walton, crediting the second-year Lakers head coach for simplifying the transition. But Frye still recalls their battles in the NBA when Walton was on a Lakers, and Frye played for the Phoenix Suns.
“He was on the Lakers, I was on the Suns, and I kind of hated you guys a little bit,” Frye quipped. “I’m happy to be here. To be a Laker is an honor.”
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