Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
As expected, all eyes were on their superstar offseason acquisition, LeBron James, and the young guns he’s joining in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma.
Without question, joining a new team—especially one with a young core—will represent a new challenge for James. But the four-time MVP and three-time champion seems excited for those challenges.
“Tomorrow is like the first day of school for me. You know what to expect, but at the same time, you don’t know what to expect,” he said, per Greg Beacham of the Associated Press. “I look forward to seeing how I can work, and how we can all work together.”
“We’ve got a long way to go to get to Golden State,” he also noted. “They can pick up right where they left off … We’re picking up from scratch, so we’ve got a long way to go. Hopefully [someday] we can put ourselves in position to compete for a championship as Golden State has done.”
As for fitting in with the team’s young guns, however, James doesn’t envision any issues:
And pressure? There’s no such thing for LeBron:
James was the headliner, but he wasn’t the only member of the organization to take the mic. Head coach Luke Walton, for instance, was pleased with how his young players are progressing:
Ball, meanwhile, provided an update on what he was able to work on during the summer:
Ingram shared an anecdote from when he learned James was signing with LA, telling reporters he texted him to welcome him to the squad.
“I just told him I was ready to work, basically,” Ingram said, per Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell.
The Lakers have an interesting mix of battled-tested veterans and younger players, a topic a few players touched on throughout the day:
Then there was Lance Stephenson, who infamously blew in James’ ear during a playoff game in an ill-fated attempt to get in the star’s head. Stephenson addressed the elephant in the room on Monday:
There is a buzz around this Lakers team, for obvious reasons, and it’s pretty clear the team is embracing it. It’s been a while since the Lakers had a title contender, and while they are a few pieces away from being one this season, James and the team’s young core should be able to engineer a playoff run.
Anything less would be a disappointment. For many players, that would create a level of pressure. But not James. For him, the highest expectations are the norm, and he’s consistently surpassed them.
In that regard, eventually leading this Lakers team to a title in the coming years is simply the latest challenge to overcome. And everyone in the organization seems excited for the first steps in that process.