Channing Frye is now back with the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing just nine games for the Los Angeles Lakers following a midseason trade from Cleveland earlier this year. While he’s mostly been complimentary about his former teammates, the veteran big man was more critical when it came to the Lakers’ prospects in 2018-19 with LeBron James onboard, as he believes the team is in for a “reality check” in a number of ways in the aftermath of the four-time NBA MVP’s arrival.
In an interview with Erik Garcia Gundersen of USA Today‘s LeBron Wire, Frye expressed no bitterness toward the Cavs and the Lakers, given his “boomerang” year where he started the 2017-18 season in Cleveland, got traded to Los Angeles in February, then returned to the Cavs as a free agent after signing a one-year contract with the team in July. He said that he understands the NBA is a “business” where one shouldn’t take things personally, and at 35 and at the tail-end of his career, he wanted to sign with a team that was familiar with his skillset as a player.
Talking about the Lakers with LeBron James as their new superstar acquisition, Channing Frye warned that the young team might be in for a “reality check” in terms of dealing with a player who has “no room” for mistakes.
“I don’t know if they truly understand what it’s like to play with him because there is no room for mistakes. Because in all actuality, he could do it himself. He could lead a team to 40 wins by himself. I think for all of them they’re going to have to have a reality check, not only them but the people around them. There’s going to say, not a growing period, but a humility.”
Frye added that the Lakers’ “reality check” might also extend to dealing with the expectations from the media and the attention the team’s players could be getting now that they’ve got one of the NBA’s greatest players of all time in their lineup.
“If you have one million [social media] followers, get ready to have two [million]. If you have two get ready to have four. Get ready to get invited to literally everything in L.A. because you’re now the hottest ticket in L.A. Find that medium.”
Just as he did in the past when he showered praise on former teammates such as Kyle Kuzma, as documented in July by Silver Screen and Roll, Frye made sure to recognize the Lakers’ up-and-comers, calling them “arguably the most talented group” of young players in the league.
With LeBron James on board, many prognosticators have been expecting good things for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018-19 NBA season. Bleacher Report, for example, predicted earlier this month that the Lakers could win 55 games and end up as the third seed in next year’s Western Conference playoffs if everything goes according to plan. However, the publication warned of a similar kind of “reality check” to the one Channing Frye cautioned about — the possibility that the team might have to fight tooth-and-nail for a playoff spot if youngsters such as Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram fail to mesh with James or “can’t handle the nightly spotlight.”