LeBron James will take on a new type of challenge this upcoming season when he tries to pilot the young and talented Los Angeles Lakers through the NBA gauntlet known as the Western Conference.
James signed with the Lakers this offseason without another superstar joining him on Redondo Beach, and LA proceeded to fill out its roster by making a number of questionable signings. King James has played his last eight seasons with at least one other star player next to him, but the 33-year-old will be flanked by up-and-comers Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball this season instead of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love or Dwyane Wade.
But James appears ready for the challenge. The star forward opened his “I Promise” public school in Akron, Ohio, on Monday and he talked briefly about his thoughts on his latest chapter, acknowledging that Year 1 in LA will be a grind.
“I think there’s going to be months when we’re really good,” James said. “There’s going to be months when we’re not so good. That’s just going to come from familiarity. We’re new to each other — besides Ball, Ingram, Kuz, Hart, Zubac — I believe that’s the returning class that’s there. But everybody else is also new to the system, so we’ll see what happens with that.”
While the 2018-19 season might be tough sledding for James and the young Lakers, the King has made it clear he’s in it for the long haul with the Purple and Gold. James signed a four-year, $153.3 million contract this summer, signaling he won’t be jumping ship if the Lakers underperform next season. He also gave the Lakers the OK to keep Ingram, Kuzma and Ball rather than trade them in a deal for Kawhi Leonard, who the Lakers can sign next offseason as a free agent.
James’ streak of eight straight NBA Finals appearances likely will end this season, but he seems content with his choice to build something sustainable at Staples Center.
Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images