The Los Angeles Lakers are weighing their options to improve the roster for a championship repeat run, but superstar LeBron James appears happy with what the team currently has in its arsenal.
The Lakers held practice for the first time since the All-Star Game on Thursday and James shared his thoughts on the team’s status.
“I’m not in the mind frame of what needs to happen as far as our roster,” James told reporters, per Mike Trudell of Spectrum Sports. “We just need to play better with the group that we’ve got. I believe in every guy that’s in our locker room. I love what we have. When we’re whole and we’re full, we can compete with anyone in the world.”
The Lakers had a busy offseason, bringing in Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, Wes Matthews and Marc Gasol to beef up the roster. Schroder and Harrell have worked out great, but Gasol and Matthews have lots of room for improvement.
Lakers Linked to Multiple Big Men
The Lakers have reportedly been shopping around and rumors have the defending champions linked to multiple players, including Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins and PJ Tucker. While a reunion with Cousins appears to be the Lakers’ last choice, Tucker and Drummond would help the Lakers improve on their league-best defensive rating.
“The fact that we’re so damn good defensively has saved us so far this season cause we haven’t been great offensively. Haven’t shot the ball well, have had high turnover games,” James said. “But we hang our hats on our defense and that’s always going to give us an opportunity to win.”
The trade deadline is March 25, but the Lakers will also closely monitor the buyout market for key role players who could help out on the cheap.
LeBron James: ‘We Definitely Needed the Break’
The Lakers finished the first half of the season losing six of their last eight, with multiple players nursing injuries. Premier among those was star forward Anthony Davis, who is expected to return soon from a calf strain and Achilles issue.
“I felt like we definitely needed the break,” said James, who sat out just one game in the first half of the season. “Mentally, physically and spiritually. … I think it’s going to benefit our team.”
Davis got in the weight room before Thursday’s practice but did not get on the court. Head coach Frank Vogel said he won’t play on Friday but will be reevaluated.
James is averaging 25.8 points, 8 rebounds and 7.8 assists this season. He played just 13 minutes in the All-Star game, notching a career-low 4 points, basically just going through the motions after a historically short offseason.
The Lakers sit 3.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the top seed in the Western Conference and it sounds like James is locked in to hunt them down.
“It’s go time for me,” James told reporters.
The Lakers begin the second half of the season on Friday against the Indiana Pacers.