He knows some people don’t like all the Lakers’ additions and that others can’t wait to write them off as an instant failure. He understands some will be slow to embrace his vision of Showtime 2.0, but he thinks enough people remember the Lakers’ tradition to trust his forecast for a quick turnaround.
In other words, he has an idea how he’s going to make this team work. You may not like it or love it or believe that those who criticize will end up eating their words. But he knows what he’s doing and he believes what he’s building will be something they can all enjoy.
“When you have an opportunity to bring that type of talent together, I know what type of message it sends,” James said after the Lakers introduced their five new acquisitions on Tuesday afternoon at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo. “We are excited, not only are they great players but they are great people. They are hardworking guys who love to play the game.”
James didn’t name names, but he said “a few years ago, some of these guys would have went at each other’s throats. Playing this beautiful game for our livelihood, it’s not easy at all.”
In some cases he didn’t have to name names. Westbrook and James squared off in four NBA Finals matches, including a memorable 2012 duel that saw the Thunder win a deciding seventh game on their home floor with a stout finishing stretch led by Westbrook.