LeBron James shocking answer proves Lakers are not title contender

LeBron James does not have a championship on his mind.
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have not improved their roster this offseason. They have tried. LeBron James was willing to take a pay cut if the Lakers could get an upgrade, but the front office watched the Mavericks win the bidding war for Klay Thompson and James Harden return to the Clippers. The Western Conference improved and all the Lakers did was bring back LeBron.

Things are not exactly sunny in Lakerland. Their biggest offseason upgrades were drafting Dalton Knecht and Bronny James. J.J. Redick is their new head coach, but Los Angeles struck out on their top choices to assist him. Not much went right for the Lakers this summer.

LeBron is preparing to play for Team USA at the Olympics in Paris this summer. During his media availability, he was asked about the Lakers' expectations for the 2024-25 season and his answer will shock fans for what he did not say.

LeBron James proves the Lakers are not title contenders

James said this when asked what the Lakes can accomplish if no more roster moves are made.

"My expectation is for us to go to work every day, try to get better every day, and push each other every day. As a captain and AD as the captain, we got to hold everybody accountable from the player’s standpoint. We are coming in with a new system, so we have to learn the system and see what coach Redick and the rest of the coaching staff want us to do and go from there."

It is what LeBron did not say that should surprise fans. There was no mention of winning a championship or competing for the title. James talked about improving, but there was no discussion of him competing for his fifth ring.

The Lakers are in a tricky position. LeBron took less, so the franchise is under the second tax apron by $45,000. If they want to finish the season under and avoid having their draft pick frozen, they must send out more money than they take back in any trade and are unable to aggregate contracts if they increase their payroll per ESPN's Bobby Marks.

Improving their roster will be difficult, and it is not good enough right now. LeBron knows it. That is why there was no mention of title contention in the team’s expectations. The Lakers just finished seventh in the West and lost in the first round of the playoffs in five games. Several teams improved, including the conference champions beating out LA for a future Hall of Famer.

The Los Angeles Lakers always want to compete for championships, but there is no clear avenue to make that a reality. They may trade D’Angelo Russell before the deadline but have not found a workable deal this offseason. The Lakers are likely back in the Play-In Tournament and hoping to make the playoffs in 2025. It will be another disappointing season with the front office to blame for not upgrading their roster.

Fans should set their expectations accordingly because it sounds like LeBron James already has.