LeBron James believes the Los Angeles Lakers face a “critical” offseason as the team attempts to rebuild after missing the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year.
James told Bleacher Report in an interview that the Lakers would need to strengthen their roster this year if they were to challenge for honours next season.
The 34-year-old NBA superstar said he planned to play an active role in helping the Lakers front office build a winning team.
“I’ve never played fantasy basketball,” James told Bleacher Report. “But I will be as active as I need to be for this franchise to get better. That’s why I came here.
“I came here to win. And obviously, we need to get better, as far as our personnel. We have an opportunity to get better.
“And there’s a lot of talent out there and a lot of guys that can help our franchise. So I’ll be as active as I need to be for us to get better and go from there.”
The Lakers are likely to be radically reshaped during the offseason, with seven members of the roster entering free agency.
Uncertainty also continues to swirl around coach Luke Walton, whose position has come under scrutiny after a disappointing campaign.
On Wednesday, Lakers owner Jeannie Buss refused to address Walton’s future when asked whether he would remain. “I’m not going to give you an answer to that question,” she told a Sports Business podcast.
James, who joined the Lakers last year in a blockbuster move, meanwhile acknowledged that the clock was ticking if he wants to add to his collection of NBA titles in the twilight of his career.
“It’s a critical summer for myself,” James told Bleacher Report. “Obviously, the franchise is going to live forever. But for me personally, it’s very critical, because I want to compete and I want to compete now.”
The four-time NBA champion, who last missed the playoffs in 2005, said he was optimistic that the Lakers management duo of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka would be able to attract high calibre recruits.
“I’m positive and very optimistic that Magic (Johnson) and Rob (Pelinka) and the franchise will be great,” James said.
“They got me. I’m very confident. And I’m confident that players want to play with me. I’m very confident in that.” (Agence France-Presse)