Report: LeBron James ‘desperately’ wants to win at the highest level again

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James reportedly still wants to chase a title in the final seasons of his NBA career.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, as James has won four titles and gone to the NBA Finals 10 times in his career, but The Athletic’s Sam Amick shared that the Lakers star “desperately wants” to reach the pinnacle of winning on the league’s highest stage again.

“As Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has always said about this partnership, James’ happiness is the key to it all,” Amick wrote. “Yet while some have surmised that James might be content coasting in these final Lakers years, enjoying all the benefits of living in Los Angeles while continuing to make his incredible mark on the league’s history books, league sources say he desperately wants to win at the highest of levels again. What’s more, James’ unprecedented play at this stage means he remains open to the prospect of playing two, or even three, more seasons before retiring.”

Despite turning 39 years old during the 2023-24 season, James showed that he is one of the game’s best players once again, earning an All-NBA selection and an All-Star nod.

A 20-time All-Star, James averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game while shooting 54.0 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from deep in the regular season.

He then followed that up by playing at a high level in the playoffs. The four-time NBA Finals MVP averaged 27.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists per game across five games against the Denver Nuggets.

During James’ time in Los Angeles, the Lakers have had postseason success, winning the NBA Finals in the 2019-20 season in the Orlando, Fla. bubble, but they have only made the Western Conference Finals one other time in James’ tenure (the 2022-23 season).

While James has a player option for the 2024-25 season, it appears the Lakers are operating as if he will be back. That means that he will be paired with Anthony Davis (an All-NBA selection in the 2023-24 season) for yet another year, which should give the Lakers a chance to compete for a title.

“If those two players are at the core of what you’re building, we like our chances,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. “And, of course, we’ll continue to have conversations as we approach free agency here, in the next week or so, of how we want to tweak or change — make roster changes — to put (the Lakers) in a competitive position built around those two players.”

James, who is now the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, has enjoyed a ton of playoff success in his career. There’s no doubt that he can still be a top player on a team, but the Lakers need to surround him with the right pieces to truly compete for a title in a loaded Western Conference.

Now that Los Angeles has hired J.J. Redick as its next head coach, the franchise can now focus on getting the right pieces around James and Davis to avoid the same playoff shortcomings that they experienced in the 2023-24 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.