LeBron James and the LA Lakers are still relishing the emotional high of winning an NBA title. All that has quickly put the target on their backs ahead of next season to vie for another championship. The Lakers have quickly provided James another reason to be amped for the upcoming title defense.
LeBron James helps guide the Lakers to an NBA title
In his second season with the Lakers, LeBron James guided the franchise back to the mountaintop.
James put forth an MVP-caliber campaign in his 17th year that saw him alongside offseason Anthony Davis lead LA to tremendous success. The Lakers secured their first playoff berth in seven years, which also marked the first time garnering the No.1 seed in the Western Conference in a decade.
LA kept that rolling through the playoffs with a 16-5 record to an NBA title, including just once being pushed to six games in a series. James stepped up his play in the postseason as he averaged a near-triple-double that saw him earn his fourth NBA Finals MVP.
Following that massive accomplishment, the 35-year-old has another huge reason to be excited about next season.
LeBron James loves the trade for Dennis Schroder
The Lakers made their first significant move of the offseason by acquiring veteran point guard Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following the move becoming official on Wednesday night after the 2020 NBA draft, LeBron James took to social media to voice his excitement about the addition.
There were previous reports that James had a strong desire to play with Schroder for quite some time. Much of that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the strong praise his close friend Chris Paul voiced toward the 27-year-old during the playoffs in the Orlando Bubble.
Schroder has the opportunity to be a significant factor for the Lakers in what will likely be a sixth man role next season. He has proven to be a substantial offensive factor coming off a campaign that should have earned him the Sixth Man of the Year award.
He has shown the strong ability to create his offense through drives to the rim while becoming a more steady shooter from 3-point range after hitting a career-high 38.5% last year. Schroder’s scoring prowess and playmaking as a pass will be greatly depended on in the 2020-21 campaign.
Lakers’ approach for the rest of the offseason
The trade for Dennis Schroder is likely the first of several notable moves for the Lakers this offseason.
Schroder’s presence also gives the team a safety net if Rajon Rondo does elect to sign elsewhere in free agency. LA also has some significant players likely hitting the free-agent market with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, and Markieff Morris (team option).
The Lakers have expressed interest in retaining each of them, but much can change in free agency as other options may emerge. What could play against them is their limited salary-cap space that will likely see a player or two sign with another franchise.
The front office will likely make a concerted effort to target other players such as Serge Ibaka in free agency. Other veteran players may be willing to take a pay cut to compete for a championship next season.
Beyond those moves, the Lakers are anticipated to have Anthony Davis back on a lucrative multi-year deal while LeBron James is still playing at an elite level. There is plenty of excitement in LA to see the team compete for a second straight NBA title.