LeBron James wants to help the 2021-22 Lakers get off to the same start the 2020 champions did, so there was only one option available: Players-only minicamp.
The Los Angeles Lakers don’t start training camp until next week, but LeBron James isn’t letting that stop him from helping the overhauled roster get off to a head start at building cohesion as a group.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, James will be hosting the team for a players-only minicamp in Las Vegas, something he did not do his first year with the Lakers, but has otherwise done for years (with the exception of last season, due to COVID restrictions and the short turnaround):
“Sources tell me LeBron has organized a three-day Lakers team minicamp in Las Vegas starting on Friday ahead of next week’s training camp. James hosted a similar team function in 2019, the season that the Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship. The Lakers had acquired Anthony Davis in 2019 and were integrating him to the roster. This offseason, in similar fashion, the Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook, and will now use this weekend as a catapult ahead of the upcoming NBA season.”
Charania didn’t specify players-only in his tweet, but given that teams are not allowed to organize formal practices until the season opens, it seems like a safe bet that it’s only players that LeBron is inviting.
But just because they can’t go, the front office is still likely hoping that this proverbial catapult Charania is referring to hits the same metaphorical target, as the 2020 Lakers had some of the best chemistry of any team we’ve ever seen. Last year’s group — due to a combination of health and safety protocols, injuries, limited practices, few opportunities for time together and other factors — was just never able to get on the same page to the same degree as the year before, so it makes sense that James is getting a jump on things by getting the team together now that the league is opening things up again for players and they had a real offseason to rest.
And hey, the Lakers are literally 1-for-1 on championships in years James hosts one of these camps. Can’t hurt to see if they can make it 2-for-2.