This season did not go as planned for the Lakers. After a host of injuries and inconsistent play, the storied franchise is once again out of the playoffs even after signing LeBron James last summer. While critics question what Los Angeles needs to not miss the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, James let it be known that he relishes these times of uncertainty.
During an interview with The Athletic's Joe Vardon, LeBron acknowledged the doubt brought by this season. Yet he explained to Vardon that the media's speculations only secure his confidence in himself.
"I like being uncomfortable in the offseason," James said. "I like being counted out. It motivates me."
Although James stated that a season's outcome doesn't impact his grind, the three-time NBA champion did tell Vardon that he'll have to switch up the offseason schedule he's had for nearly a decade now that he won't be in a deep playoff run.
"I’ve had basically the same offseason training regimen the last eight years," James continued. "I knew how long I wanted to rest for the season on a short timeline. I’m figuring out now how to get as much as I can out of two months of extra time for training. It requires a totally different strategy. We’re looking at it in an entirely new way."
James had also been struggling through a groin injury this season. One physical therapist described his season as "pain, pain, pain" even after he came back from his 17-game absence nursing the injury. Now, with the Lakers out of playoff contention, Los Angeles' front office has convinced James to preserve his body by sitting out the rest of the season. In the meantime, LeBron assured The Athletic that he and his personal trainer, Mike Mancias, have "damn near" mapped out the plan to get LeBron and the Lakers back to the playoffs.