The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of repeating as NBA champions. LeBron James and Anthony Davis struggled to move past injuries, leading to the Lakers’ early playoff exit. As James heads into the offseason eyeing a run at a fifth NBA title, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson may have revealed the four-time league MVP’s motivation fueling the desire to reach that lofty goal.
LeBron James shines in 18th NBA season despite injuries
James entered the 2020-21 season with plenty of motivation to guide the Lakers to another NBA title.
Despite having only 71 days off from winning a championship, Los Angeles pushed to one of the league’s best records. However, the short offseason began to take its toll on the Lakers as Anthony Davis struggled to stay healthy.
Davis limped through the first couple of months, dealing with lingering leg issues until suffering an Achilles-related calf injury in February. His absence put tremendous pressure on James to carry the load. He managed to keep the Lakers among the top Western Conference records behind his MVP-caliber play.
All that momentum came crashing down after he suffered a right high ankle sprain in late March that kept him off the floor for six weeks. James returned to finish the regular season but showed some lingering effects from the injury. In light of that, he produced at an elite level as he finished the regular season averaging 25.0 points, 7.8 assists, and 7.7 rebounds on 51.4% shooting from the floor and 36.5% from deep.
James also extended his NBA record to 17 seasons averaging at least 25.0 points per contest. It’s five more than the second most that feature a five-way tie between Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Karl Malone.
As James heads into another offseason hoping to gear up for another championship bid, a former Lakers great revealed what his motivation might be for a fifth NBA title.
Magic Johnson reveals LeBron James’ heartfelt reason why he wants to win a 5th NBA title
James has firmly established himself as one of the NBA’s greatest players, but his career remains an open book as he inches closer to two decades in the league.
The four-time NBA MVP keeps his focus on vying for championships to add to his first-ballot Hall of Fame career. During a recent interview on ESPN‘s Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin radio show, Johnson voiced that he believes James wants a fifth NBA title to tie him and the late-great Kobe Bryant.
“I think LeBron, he wants one more,” Johnson said. “He wants that fifth one. I got five. Kobe got five. So I know. He gotta be saying, ‘I gotta get five at least’ because I don’t think he gonna get the six like MJ, but that’s what he’s chasing. But he might get it but we just have to wait and see.”
The 36-year-old is on the doorstep of reaching that lofty goal after winning his fourth championship last year. Although James fell well short of an NBA title this past season, he will have the chance to add to his total.
The task falls on the Lakers’ front office to field a roster around him that can vie for an NBA title. He will do everything in his power to return to full strength next season after dealing with a lingering ankle sprain. With Los Angeles holding the strong foundation of him and Davis to build around, it sets up another vitally important offseason.
Lakers must revamp the roster
Any hope for James to capture another NBA title with the Lakers will depend on other factors around him.
It first starts with Davis getting healthy and revamping his body care and workout routine. Davis has struggled throughout his NBA career dealing with lingering injuries. This upcoming offseason is a chance for him to refocus on making the proper adjustment to finally move past those issues.
The front office also needs to restructure the roster to provide a stronger supporting cast around James and Davis. It may include the pursuit of All-Star Kyle Lowry through a sign-and-trade. Meanwhile, the team will monitor Damian Lillard’s developing situation with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Ultimately, the Lakers know the task ahead, and it will be on the front office to get the job done.