LeBron James says he is ‘definitely disappointed’ Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t acquire Kyrie Irving
By Matias Grez, CNN
LeBron James admits he is “definitely disappointed” that the Los Angeles Lakers were unable to acquire Kyrie Irving in a trade, with the former Brooklyn Nets guard instead being dealt to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
James and Irving previously enjoyed great success playing together at the Cleveland Cavaliers between 2014 and 2017, reaching the NBA Finals in all three of the seasons they were teammates and winning the title in 2016.
“I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent,” James told ESPN on Monday. “But [also] someone that I had great chemistry with and know I got great chemistry with on the floor, that can help you win championships, in my mind, in my eyes.
“But my focus is shifted now. My focus is shifted back to where it should be and that’s this club now and what we have in the locker room.”
The Lakers have endured a torrid season so far, racking up another defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday as the team languishes in 13th in the Western Conference.
The ‘Big Three’ of James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook was supposed to signal the start of another title challenge, but the trio have consistently struggled together with Westbrook being relegated to a bench role this season.
However, despite Saturday’s defeat, an unusually bunched up Western Conference means the Lakers are still only 1.5 games back from the play-in and 3.5 games back from an automatic playoff spot.
James remains bullish on his team’s chances in the postseason and insists he is now completely focused on the Lakers’ current roster following Irving’s trade to the Mavericks.
“It’s a quick pivot,” James said. “It don’t take me long. I don’t get too excited about the possibilities of things that can be.
“I kind of envision myself on what it can, but I don’t invest it all the way into it until I know it’s happening and when it does not happen, I’m back locked in on the job at hand.
“So we had an opportunity, our names were out there, the Lakers name was out there. We had an opportunity, it didn’t happen. We move on and we finish this season strong, try to get a bid into the postseason, where I feel if we go in healthy, we can compete with anybody.”
Even though the Lakers have struggled, James has been playing some of the best basketball of his career as he closes in on the NBA’s all-time scoring record.
James is just 36 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s total of 38, 387 and has the chance to break the record either on Tuesday at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder or Thursday at home to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Abdul-Jabbar has held the top spot since he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain in 1984, setting the current total during his final NBA season in 1989.
“It’s still mind-boggling to myself,” James said of his imminent accomplishment. “Because I’ve set goals throughout my whole career. I wanted to be Rookie of the Year, I wanted to be an MVP in this league, I wanted to win championships, be an All-Star, I wanted to lead the league in assists, make all defensive team, Defensive Player of the Year.
“I’ve never said I wanted to lead the league in scoring or, for sure, never said I wanted to be the all-time leader in scoring. That’s never been a dream of mine and to sit here and actually be on the brink of it happening, it’s pretty crazy.”
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