Calm and confident, LeBron James says Los Angeles Lakers can ‘absolutely’ repeat in 2021

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LeBron James is confident that the Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason moves will put them in a position to defend their NBA championship.
” We can [repeat]. I mean, it’s that simple, “James said in an episode of” Road Trippin ‘, “hosted by Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye and Allie Clifton, which airs Tuesday on Spectrum SportsNet.” We absolutely can. … First of all, it all starts with health. You have to be lucky. You have to be healthy. If we can stay healthy. ”

James, attending his first extended interview since the Lakers left the bubble in Orlando, Fla. With the Larry O’Brien Trophy in tow, and then landed some of Los Angeles’ off-season acquisitions – namely Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol – – as a source of confidence when considering a title defense.

“We got younger,” James said, appearing relaxed in a tie-dye shirt and sipping a glass of tequila during the episode. “We have a 27-year-old leader [in Schroder]. We got the sixth man of the year award, aged 27 [winner] in Trezz. We have become younger. We had Marc who is defensive player of the year and his IQ not only playing against him in the NBA but also against him against Spain with the national team. ”

James had good wishes for his former teammates who are no longer with the Lakers: Danny Green and Dwight Howard in Philadelphia; Rajon Rondo in Atlanta; JaVale McGee in Cleveland; and free agent Quinn Cook. “Being a part of a championship ball club, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing zero minutes or you’re 30-40 minutes away, it’s all connected because we challenge each other every day,” he said.

Sometimes scrutinized for having a heavy hand when it comes to personnel decisions on the teams he has played for throughout his career, James has hinted at future roster possibilities for the Lakers, who will start the camp. training Thursday.

“Quinn, he’s a pro, he’ll definitely take a look,” James said. “I hope to come back with us. … Hopefully we can bring him back.

He also didn’t close the door on Marc Gasol’s older brother Pau Gasol, potentially making a return to the franchise where he teamed up with Kobe Bryant to win two championships.

“We’ll see,” James said when asked if he thought 40-year-old Gasol could go back to LA. “We’ll see, I mean, maybe. We’ll see. We’ll see. ”

It looks like there won’t be much to see for James, entering his 18th season, as Los Angeles’ four pre-season picks starting December 11 with two games against the Clippers of LA, followed by two against the Phoenix Suns.

“Pre-season I’m not really worried,” he said. “I reach 36 years old. … Don’t worry about me in the preseason. ”

The exhibits schedule will be the first time the league has hosted games in NBA arenas after putting the 2019-20 season on hiatus in March due to the pandemic. James and the Lakers emerged victorious from the 22-team bubble, which required daily testing for COVID-19, but there is skepticism about the NBA’s plan for the 2020-21 season.

“I’m very intrigued to see what the protocols will be,” said James. “There were discussions, there were discussions. They wanted to make sure we could get the season started. Obviously, for many reasons. ”

Jefferson interrupted James’ thoughts to suggest that “money” was the main motivator in the NBA, which James agreed with.

“The main reason,” James said.

League owners believed the NBA could lose between $ 500 million and $ 1 billion by not starting this season before Christmas, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “But the safety of our players and the safety of our owners and the safety of our general managers and the safety of our coaches and coaching staff and the like is more important than anything,” said James. “I’m very intrigued to see how they handle this because we all know COVID is still very active. And they actually told us that in the winter it will be more active than anytime and that’s what we are right now. – either if you see snow or not, it’s winter and it picks up speed. So, I just want to see how we approach this. ”

While James recently shared photos from a training session on the field with his 16-year-old son, Bronny, he revealed on the podcast that he had “only touched a basketball twice,” during the truncated offseason. Of course, the last time he had the stone in his hands, things went pretty well for James. He won his fourth NBA title by being named MVP of the Finals for the fourth time after beating the Miami Heat 4-2 in the championship round.

But not before taking on the challenge of moving to Florida for more than three months.

“It’s almost the same feeling as the first time you go to a haunted house,” James said. “You are excited with your friends. Your friends tell you how awesome it is. And you get juicy and juicy and juicy and juicy – you really don’t realize how scary it is until you walk into this haunted house and that’s what I compare to the bubble.

“We were all delighted to be back. We were delighted to be playing basketball again. I mean, we quit playing in March, so we were all excited, but you don’t really know what you’re getting into until you’re inside the bubble and they’re like, ‘There , you cannot get out of this door. ‘ ”

James also reflected on when the Milwaukee Bucks went on a wildcat strike in the first round of the playoffs in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. James said the Bucks’ one-sided move caused uncertainty for the rest of the league.

“They had made the decision to boycott the game because of what had happened in their backyard in Milwaukee, with another innocent black man gunned down,” recalls James. “So I called Chris Paul, because their game was next, and I called him and Russ [Westbrook] and I told them directly, “There’s no way we can come out on the floor as the Lakers and play our game with what just happened.” What are you guys gonna do? And they felt the same. … We would look stupid if we went out and played and Milwaukee decided to sit down and preach this solidarity thing as a brotherhood. Because we are a fraternity. Even when you are blinded by your brother. ”

James used a military analogy to try to get his point across.

“When we are all together as an army, if we are an army and we go into combat and we say that we are united here and that someone at the front decides to leave before saying: ‘Charge! Now we are all caught off guard, ”he said. “So that’s what happened. And to be honest, I was good to go. I was ready to go. I called my wife and called my mom and told them I was probably coming home. ”

He also explained his reasoning for leaving a practical meeting in the wake of the Bucks boycott, when several members of the Lakers and Clippers joined him, leaving many in the room believing those teams would drop out of the season. .

“When I got out we sat there and talked for two, three, four hours and still there was no plan. So I went out. Because my time is very precious. And I knew what might help the change, ”James said. “But when you are dealing with a group with a lot of emotion [people], a lot of egos, a lot of guys who are passionate about themselves and what they believe in, so it’s hard to come up with a plan right now. So it was better for me to go out. ”

It ended up being a critical moment in NBA history and one of many bubble stories that will surely be resurrected for years to come.

“Ninety-six days, 95 nights,” James said of his time in the bubble. ” I will never forget him. ”

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