When LeBron James signed a four-year, $154 million deal in free agency, there were immediate championship expectations for him and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Whether it was fair or not, James and the Lakers exceeded expectations following their Christmas Day win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Unfortunately, James suffered a groin strain injury that kept him out 17 consecutive games and the Lakers went from fourth to out of the playoffs in those six weeks.
As the 2018-19 NBA season comes to a close, James discussed the personal disappointment he has after Year 1 with the Lakers in an exclusive interview with Allie Clifton of Spectrum SportsNet:
“For me personally, it’s disappointment. I hold myself to such a high standard. Disappointed in my body and the way it reacted on Dec. 25. I know what I came here to do. And that’s to put this franchise in position to play meaningful basketball games in April going into May.”
After playing all 82 games for the first time in his career during the 2017-18 season, James followed that up by playing the fewest games. As James’ injury was suggested as season-ending according to his physical therapist, he returned but the injuries piled up.
With James in unfamiliar territory, he is motivated and has five months to prepare for his 17th season. While the Lakers could have made the playoffs if they were relatively healthy, they have an opportunity to add a second All-Star player via trade or free agency this offseason and become legitimate contenders in the Western Conference.