NBA

LeBron James wants to cool expectations in L.A..

LeBron James is not prepared to declare the Lakers as title contenders next season

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The arrival of LeBron James immediately raises expectations for the Los Angeles Lakers next season but it's difficult to predict what they can achieve.

With Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley also added in free agency, it's left many people scratching their heads about how this experiment will play out.

But simply having James on the roster has fans in L.A. dreaming about another championship, having reached eight straight finals.

Realistic goals

The reality, however, is that the Lakers have to make steady progress and are unlikely to take such a huge leap.

It will be a big ask to compete with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets at the top end of the Western Conference when they've missed out on the playoffs for five straight seasons.

Their minimum aim should be to secure a postseason berth once again before thinking about winning the title.

LeBron's first aim will be to get the Lakers back into the playoffs

LeBron knows the task that faces him and is not prepared to label the Lakers as championship contenders just yet.

In a recent interview with beIN Sports, he listed the many teams who will be challenging for the Larry O'Brien trophy.

“There are a lot of Championship contenders but there can only be one champion," he said.

"That is the Golden State Warriors, that is the team which everybody is trying to catch.

"But you also have the Houston Rockets who are really good, Oklahoma City, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors – there’s a lot of Championship-contending teams.”

Lowering expectations

The four-time MVP is clearly looking to temper expectations ahead of the upcoming campaign as the purple and gold have a lot of work to do with several new players to bed in.

Having the 33-year-old on board certainly gives Los Angeles a good chance to get back to winning ways but the west is extremely competitive.

Much of their success will also depend on their young core showing significant development and proving they can make that step up to compete for a title so early in their careers.

There will be increased pressure on the Lakers' youngsters

There will be added pressure on Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram but there's certainly no doubting their talent.

The Lakers have a good mix of youth and veterans and having the best player on the planet will give any team confidence to win any game.

So much attention will be placed on the franchise next season and it'll be interesting to see if they can deliver for an expectant fanbase in Tinseltown.

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Topics:
Rajon Rondo
Pacific Division
Western Conference
L.A. Lakers
LeBron James
NBA

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