LeBron recently announced on national television at the ESPYs that he will not be retiring and will enter his 21st season in the NBA. James will be going into his seventh season with the Lakers next year and hunting to win another ring before he walks away from the game. LeBron turns 39 later this year in December, so the clock is ticking for the Lakers and LeBron. Can the Lakers win another championship while LeBron is still there? The answer is yes.
The Lakers have had a great offseason so far. They retained guys they traded for at the trade deadline in D’Angelo Russel, Rui Hachimura, and re-signing Austin Reaves. Reaves showed tremendous upside potential in their playoff run all the way to the Western Conference finals. Reaves, only 25 years old, will be entering his prime over the next few seasons, and having him under contract is a big win for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Photo Cred: ClutchPoints
He signed a four-year $56 million contract with the Lakers this off-season. It’s a win for both sides and will keep Reaves with the Lakers for at least the next four years. The Lakers had one of the best records in the league after the trade deadline last year, going 17-9. This brought them back into the play-in tournament, where they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves and a spot in the playoffs. A huge reason for the post-trade deadline success was the guys they traded for. Russel and Hachimura played massive roles. When starting Russell, they had an immediate impact. Retaining these guys are critical aspects of their quest for another championship.
Through free agency, the Lakers added former Miami Heat guard Gabe Vincent, who has playoff experience and is a capable three-point shooter, which is what the Lakers need. The Lakers also added forward Tauren Prince, guard Cam Reddish, and center Jaxson Hayes. Prince is a good wing who can stretch the floor and give you length at the defensive end. Cam Reddish is an exceptionally talented young prospect who has only been in the league a few seasons but has shown the ability to put the ball in the basket. Hayes is a big body who is extremely athletic and will be great in the pick-and-roll scenario. The additions have highly improved the Laker’s roster.
Photo Cred: ClutchPoints
The key is still LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The health of Anthony Davis is always a question mark, but he can stay healthy; this Lakers team can be dangerous. I still expect LeBron to average 20+ points next season but look for him to play more in the post and less running around on the perimeter to conserve his energy for the latter half of the season. The Nuggets should still be the favorite to come out of the West next season. They did sweep the Lakers, it was a close sweep.
Photo Cred: ESPN
Most games came down to the wire and could have gone either way. The bottom line is the Lakers got better this offseason, and the Nuggets got worse. With the loss of Bruce Brown, Thomas Bryant, and Jeff Green, the Nuggets turn to their younger guys to step up. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are still fully capable of leading this Lakers team to a championship next year. LeBron’s playoff record speaks for itself. With this new and improved roster, I fully expect the Lakers to be in the championship mix next season.