After playing with two All-Star players during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, LeBron James is preparing for the 2018-19 NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers under different circumstances.
With a young core and tough veterans surrounding James, there have been questions about where the Lakers rank in the Western Conference. As the Golden State Warriors remain the favorites, some feel the Lakers can challenge the Houston Rockets as the second-best team while others do not think they will make the playoffs.
Although the 33-year-old considered the Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers, he ultimately liked the challenge of helping the storied franchise return to their championship ways.
As a result, James does not view his first season in Los Angeles as a rebuilding year, according to Rachel Nichols of ESPN:
“So I don’t feel like this is even a rebuilding year for us. We have an opportunity to do something that a lot of people don’t think we can do, and we love the notion of it’s another rebuilding year and we don’t have enough. So that will motivate the guys that we have anyways.”
While the Lakers were linked with Kawhi Leonard before he was traded to the Toronto Raptors, James was comfortable with the young core, so he did not push for a trade before signing.
At this stage of his career, it will be interesting to see if James has the patience after signing a four-year, $153 million contract. If Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart can all take a major step in their development, the Lakers will be well-positioned in the short- and long-term.