LeBron James ‘locked in’ during shootaround as Lakers prepare to open season in Portland

first_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersBut James’ debut has been heavily anticipated since July, when he signed a four-year deal with the Lakers and drummed up a new sense of optimism for one of the NBA’s premier franchises.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.James mostly hemmed in talk of expectations for the year, which has been his M.O. for the preseason. But he also seemed ready to take the next step, maintaining his enthusiasm even as he iced his knees and back to recover for the game.“I love what we have done so far. I love our potential, but only time will tell,” he said. “And this is the first step of a long journey for us.”Related Articles Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed PORTLAND — Hours ahead of a new era of his career, LeBron James played it cool in Portland.Coach Luke Walton said shootaround before the season opener against the Trail Blazers was mostly normal, and James had moments of levity as the Lakers prepared to tip off the year. But there is always a level of seriousness to his preparation, and in this way, Thursday morning was no different.“He’s got that locked-in look,” Walton said.The hype of James’ offseason move to Los Angeles finally hits reality Thursday night when the Lakers kick off on TNT’s national broadcast. There’s a swirl of storylines in the Moda Center, not the least of which is the death of team owner Paul Allen earlier this week. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers center_img James and Walton stressed patience for the Lakers, who have turned over nearly half the roster from last season and have many new players in key roles. James, who has been to eight consecutive NBA Finals, said he has kept winning a championship among his goals, but he’s taking a day-to-day approach to getting there.“Obviously there’s only one champion at the end of the road and you can’t dictate wins and losses, things of that nature, but you can approach every day like a champion,” he said. “And if you do that, you put yourself in a position to be successful.” Walton was mum on Thursday’s starters: While James, JaVale McGee and Brandon Ingram appear to be locked into starting roles, Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball have been in competition at the starting point guard spot, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart have started in preseason games at shooting guard.“Somebody will start,” Walton said. “We’ll find out tonight.” How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more