LeBron has Lakers dreaming bigger than the playoffs, says Kobe

By Ben Spratt 3 July 2018 14
LeBron has Lakers dreaming bigger than the playoffs, says Kobe

Kobe Bryant says the Los Angeles Lakers' "dreams are substantially bigger" than simply reaching the NBA playoffs following LeBron James' arrival.

Four-time MVP James opted out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday to become a free agent and announced on Sunday he had agreed to a four-year contract worth $154million with the Lakers.

Bryant won five NBA titles in LA and, although the team have been absent from the playoffs for the last five seasons, he believes the Lakers can be a contender again with James on board.

"With LeBron on this roster, I don't think it will be much of an issue to make the playoffs," he told ESPN. "The dreams are substantially bigger now.

"LeBron accelerates the learning curve for these young guys and they will be able to learn a lot faster because they will get a chance to watch him work every single day, how he comes to practice, how he takes care of his body and how he handles his nutrition.

"They will be able to learn really, really quickly. This is really going to help Lonzo [Ball]'s and Kyle [Kuzma]'s growth and the rest of the guys."

And Bryant is willing to help James out in any way he can to help one of the NBA's most storied franchises return to past glories.

"I spoke to [LeBron] during the playoffs and then I talked to him [Sunday] night, right after the decision," Bryant said. "I told him, 'Welcome to the family, man.'

"It sounds crazy but I said, 'Dude, you are part of the family now. So anything you need on my end, I got you. Whatever the case may be, I am here for you.'

"I'm just wishing him and his family the best and looking forward to seeing them when they get in.

"As people, you've got to help your brothers do well. I had a great run, I played 20 years, it was awesome, I had a great time, we were fortunate enough to win five championships and all that. Now it is somebody else's time. 

"That is what the Lakers have always been about. When I came here, Magic [Johnson] welcomed me with open arms - me and Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal] - and we were able to carry on the tradition with Magic's and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]'s support and, certainly, it is our responsibility to pay that forward.

"Anything that I can do whatsoever to help LeBron bring a championship back to the city of LA, I am all for it."

Bryant had earlier sent a message to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka on Twitter, congratulating them on the deal.

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Ben Spratt