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Friday, October 22, 2021

Lakers say they’re constructing a classic championship contender

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LeBron James has heard the basketball world speaking about how the Los Angeles Lakers are too {old}, and he’s laughing — each actually and figuratively.

“Among the memes and among the jokes have been extraordinarily humorous,” James stated with a smile Tuesday.

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At 36 years {old}, James is on a roster of his friends as he enters his nineteenth NBA season. 9 of the Lakers’ 14 present gamers are 32 or older, together with together with eight of their 11 new additions — and Anthony Davis is a high-mileage 28. Relying on any late strikes, the Lakers’ common age is more likely to be practically 31, which might be two years older than every other NBA roster.

However as a substitute of fixating on his new teammates’ Eighties birthdates, James thinks folks needs to be specializing in the talent, expertise and athleticism represented by all these numbers. Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and a supporting forged of achieved NBA veterans are teaming up with James and Davis, and they’re assured they’ll show age is just not but a hindrance to their unbelievable expertise.

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“We come out and we put the time in, we put the work in,” James stated. “We make our personal narrative. One factor that we all know (is) who we’re. We’ve acquired a bunch of men which have been on this league fairly some time that perceive and know what it takes to win. The enterprise that we’re in is profitable, and doing it on a regular basis.”

The remainder of James’ new teammates react to the questions round their ages with the identical raised eyebrows. The Lakers all appear to marvel why the skeptics do not understand these gamers have outlasted dozens of youthful gamers within the NBA for some superb causes.

“It’s by no means bulletin-board materials, as a result of it’s anyone else’s narrative,” stated Anthony, James’ fellow member of the draft class of 2003. “We don’t get moments like this usually the place you may have a bunch of men with this stature on one crew who all like one another. That’s onerous to search out.”

The Lakers acquired collectively Tuesday at their coaching complicated for media day precisely three weeks earlier than their regular-season opener in opposition to Golden State at Staples Middle.

With simply three gamers coming back from final season’s crew, the Lakers understand they’ve work to do, and so they’ve already begun their bonding with a current weekend journey to Las Vegas. They hope to discover a groove swiftly with a roster additionally together with newcomers DeAndre Jordan, Rajon Rondo, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza and three-time Lakers heart Dwight Howard — together with children Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn.

James is not fearful about discovering a rhythm with Westbrook, the ball-dominating Los Angeles native landed by the Lakers in a blockbuster commerce with Washington after averaging a triple-double but once more final season. The third-leading scorer in NBA historical past cited his years of expertise in taking part in alongside gifted teammates starting from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

“I’m very cerebral about what I must do to ensure that our crew to be as nice as we will be, and likewise to (complement) what Russ brings to the desk,” James stated. “I all the time determine it out. I don’t suppose it’s going to be like peanut butter and jelly to start out the season, however that’s all a part of the method and all a part of my work. I like to really put within the work to get to how nice it may be.”

The Lakers have additionally taken a significant step towards togetherness and well being by getting their roster totally vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19. Even Bazemore, an outspoken vaccine skeptic final season in Golden State, has acquired his first dose and is raring to get his second.

Bazemore stated he determined to get the vaccine after a dialog about life and philosophy with Lakers normal supervisor Rob Pelinka.

“One factor you don’t need to have is remorse,” Bazemore stated. “And if I’m going to a different crew or miss this season as a result of I didn’t do it and I’ve acquired to look at these guys social gathering with the Larry O’Brien Trophy as a result of I didn’t do it, I’d be fairly damage.”

James additionally confirmed he has been vaccinated, placing to relaxation the rumors round his earlier reluctance to reveal his standing. He acknowledged preliminary “skepticism” concerning the vaccine, however determined it was the correct determination to remain wholesome for his teammates and household.

Well being undid the Lakers’ title protection final season: Davis, James and several other complementary gamers have been restricted or unable to play all through Los Angeles’ first-round loss to Phoenix.

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Davis’ absences have been essentially the most crushing for the Lakers over the previous two years, and the large man is raring to be extra sturdy. As one of many Lakers’ children heading into solely his ninth NBA season, he sees it as a duty.

“I did not really feel comfy lacking that many video games,” Davis stated. “Not with the ability to play at full power within the playoffs in opposition to Phoenix … that did not sit effectively with me. I made an emphasis on caring for my physique, getting my physique again to what it was strength-wise my first 12 months right here.”



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