Report: LeBron James has been ‘extra engaged’ for Lakers recently, especially as leader

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A report indicates that Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James has been “extra engaged” for the team recently with the start of the 2023-24 NBA regular season right around the corner.

“But a few people close to James told The Times that night that they thought he was just physically and emotionally exhausted,” Dan Woike wrote regarding the night James hinted at possibly retiring. “They predicted any retirement thoughts would soon pass, which we know they did. Now he’s back with the Lakers, with insiders telling The Times that James has been extra engaged in camp, particularly from a leadership perspective.”

James has spent 20 seasons in the NBA, including five as a member of the storied Lakers organization. The 38-year-old averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field across 55 appearances with Los Angeles in the 2022-23 regular season.

While James shot the ball with impressive efficiency from the field, he struggled to knock down shots from behind the 3-point arc, seeing as how he converted 32.1 percent of his 3-point attempts a season ago.

Unfortunately, the forward wasn’t able to rectify his 3-point shooting woes during the Lakers’ 2023 playoff run. He failed to shoot better than 33.3 percent from behind the 3-point line in any of Los Angeles’ three playoff series and converted just 19.5 percent of his 3-point attempts in the team’s first-round series against Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Memphis Grizzlies.

However, James performed at a high level for the Lakers during the 2023 playoffs despite his 3-point shooting woes. He averaged 22-plus points and eight-plus rebounds per game in all three of the team’s playoff series and arguably saved his best basketball of the 2023 playoffs for the Western Conference Finals against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.

James averaged 27.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists per game for the series, but the Nuggets still eliminated the Lakers in four games and then went on to beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals to win the title.

James and the Lakers will tip off the 2023-24 regular season against the Nuggets on Oct. 24. Perhaps the forward will be able to lead Los Angeles to a victory over the defending champions and spoil Denver’s ring ceremony.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.