Both of them have something to prove as James looks to bounce back from an injury-filled season while Davis looks to re-establish himself as a top-five player in the league.
However, looming at the end of the season is the impending free agency of Davis, whom the Lakers traded for from the New Orleans Pelicans. Considering everything the Lakers gave up to get Davis, the expectation is that he will remain with them long-term, but nothing is ever for certain as the Lakers have found out in the past.
This could conceivably hover over the team throughout the season but James insists it won’t.
“No, of course not. For me… if you know me… there’s a couple here who know me… I’m a guy who lives right now,” James said at 2019 Lakers Media Day. “I live in the present […] So for me, having A.D. here right now and having this ballclub here, we’re not even gonna address that throughout the season.”
“I bet A.D. will talk about it, but our goal is to get better every day. Coach Vogel and the coaching staff is gonna put us in the best possible chance for us to win every night and that’s what it’s all about.”
This is certainly the right mindset for the Lakers to have, especially considering the number of new players on the roster. The team has a long way to go as far as coming together and building chemistry so the focus must be on that. For his part, Davis echoed the sentiments of James.
“The Lakers definitely welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like this was home,” Davis said. “You know, but at the same time, it’s about what we can do this year. We have a special team, a special unit, a special coaching staff, and we’re going to do whatever we can to focus on this year and try to come out victorious.”
There is no telling whether or not the Lakers will be able to maintain this idea throughout the season. Many took note of how Kevin Durant‘s free agency was a constant topic last season for the Golden State Warriors and how it affected their chemistry.
This is obviously a completely different situation, but it is one that everyone will be keeping an eye on. However, with James and Davis leading the way, the Lakers should be able to put this on the back burner and keep focus on the task at hand.