Winning has mostly eluded the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the past couple of seasons.
Until recently, the Lakers seemed poised to go on a run largely due to eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis’ high-level of play. Shortly before Christmas though, the team learned that a stress fracture in Davis’ right foot would sideline him.
In Davis’ absence, Los Angeles has only managed to win two of their past seven games.
The Lakers’ latest defeat came against LaBron James’ former team, the Miami Heat. James had a productive night, scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds during the contest.
After the game, inside the arena where he played some of the best basketball of his prolific career, James was asked to shed some light on his future in the NBA.
“I’m a winner, and I want to win,” James said. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion. That has always been my goal since I entered the league as an 18-year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio.
“And I know it takes steps to get there, but once you get there and know how to get there, playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore. So we’ll see what happens and see how fresh my mind stays over the next couple years.”
When James opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers in the summer of 2018 and decided to sign with the Lakers, he was coming off eight straight appearances in the NBA Finals.
Since heading West, James has enjoyed some great successes. The Lakers made the playoffs in two of James’ first four seasons in Los Angeles, one of those trips to the postseason resulted in his fourth championship.
A little less than halfway through this season, the Lakers have a 14-21 record and are in the 13th spot in the Western Conference. The team certainly has time to turn things around, but their prospects of qualifying for the postseason seem slim.
“I think about how much longer I’m going to play the game,” James continued. “I think about that I don’t want to finish my career playing at this level from a team aspect. I’ll still be able to compete for championships because I know what I can still bring to any ball club with the right pieces.
“I think about my son graduating high school soon, going off to college, and I’m still playing. My youngest son will be a junior next year — how much more time I’ll miss. So throughout the course of a day, to the weeks, to the months, I think about a little bit of everything, you know?”
Prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, James agreed to the terms of a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers.
The deal does include a player option for the 2024-25 season, meaning the four-time league MVP could enter free agency in the 2024 offseason.
James will celebrate his 38th birthday on Dec. 30. He has previously voiced his desire to play in the NBA alongside his son, Bronny.