EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Speaking with an all-business tone in his first press conference with his new team, LeBron James said the Los Angeles Lakers have “a long way to go” before getting on the same level as the Golden State Warriors.
James said he is excited to play alongside multiple ball handlers, but he understands the Lakers might have to take their “bumps and bruises” early with so many new pieces.
“We got a long way to go to get to Golden State,” James said when asked if the Lakers can challenge the two-time defending champs. “They can pick up right where they left off, starting with training camp. … We are picking up from scratch, so we got a long way to go. We can’t worry about what Golden State is doing. … They’ve been together for a few years now.”
“We are all new to each other; we have to take our bumps and our bruises,” James added. “There are going to be good times and bad times. If we continue to work the process and continue to sacrifice for one another and put in the commitment and time to being great, everything else will fall into place.”
While James was subdued during his press conference, he broke into a big smile later when asked about the health of his right hand, which he hurt following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ overtime loss in Game 1 of the NBA Finals to Golden State.
“My hand’s great,” James told ESPN. “A hundred percent, back to a hundred percent.”
This was the first time James has spoken to the Los Angeles media since signing with the Lakers in free agency in July. He had a serious tone in his press conference, something Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he has seen from James at the practice facility this summer.
“He knows what time it is. … He’s setting the tone that it’s time to come to work,” Walton said. “… There is definitely that look that I’ve seen before with somebody else I have played with before that knows the season is coming up soon.”
Walton, who played alongside Kobe Bryant, was asked who that person could be.