LeBron James rejects the suggestion that he’s joining a rebuilding team in Los Angeles.
James says the last years of his prime aren’t here yet, and that critics are underestimating what the Lakers can accomplish next season.
New story: LeBron tells @Rachel__Nichols that he doesn’t feel like his prime is ending anytime soon; he doesn’t view the Lakers as a rebuilding team; and Rondo/Lance/Beas/McGee all love basketball which he loves about them https://t.co/qVduX4V8zd
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 30, 2018
The 33-year-old adds that he’s looking forward to leading the Lakers’ new-look roster, and hasn’t felt the need to press the front-office for another headliner.
“We just got guys that love to play basketball,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols as part of a wide-ranging sit-down interview Monday at the opening of his I Promise School. “At the end of the day, guys that love to play ball, and that’s what they do every single day, I love that. I love that, and I think [Rob] Pelinka and Magic [Johnson] love that as well, and that’s why they made the signings. And bringing Lance [Stephenson] and JaVale [McGee] and [Michael Beasley] and [Rajon] Rondo, they’re guys that every day that they wake up they think about the game of basketball. And everything else is secondary.
“So we look forward to all the challenges. And, I mean, eyebrows are always going to get raised when my name is involved anyway. So it shouldn’t even be a surprise.”
Does he feel like he is sacrificing a year of his prime to play with a team full of the aforementioned signees and an untested young core, rather than staying on a squad that was more championship ready?
“I don’t even look at it like that because I don’t feel like this is going to be one of the last years of my prime,” James said. “That’s another statistic number, and I’ve always been a part of beating the odds in life. So being around my kids a lot, it gives me even more and more time in my youth.
“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.”