For many Los Angeles Lakers fans, LeBron James’ arrival could very well herald a new era of prosperity for the team, with the team widely expected to go from missing the playoffs in five straight seasons to contending for an NBA championship in 2018-19. However, that’s not how famed sports analyst and podcast host Bill Simmons sees it, as he believes the Lakers have no chance of winning a title, even with “King James” signed to a four-year, $154 million contract.
Speaking to a TMZ reporter at the Los Angeles International Airport, Simmons answered a few questions about the Lakers’ prospects with James having just joined the team. At first, he gave an optimistic prediction for the Lakers, saying that they could possibly make it to the NBA Finals in two years. He added that this would likely happen if the team is able to add another top-tier player, with Minnesota Timberwolves wingman Jimmy Butler and Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard being mentioned as possible candidates to join the Lakers ahead of their predicted Finals run.
Simmons, however, kept it short and sweet when the TMZ reporter asked him how many championships the Los Angeles Lakers could win with LeBron James in the lineup. He mentioned that the Lakers aren’t likely to win any titles despite the four-time NBA MVP’s presence, making the “zero” sign with his fingers as he prepared to leave the airport.
With James leading a lineup that has up-and-coming youngsters Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart returning to the team and veterans such as Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee signed to short-term deals, most pundits are expecting the Lakers to make their first playoff appearance since 2013 in the coming 2018-19 postseason. However, few experts and publications are expecting the team to go all the way to the Finals, and some, such as ESPN, aren’t even forecasting a spot as one of the top four seeds in the Western Conference.
“Of course, the Lakers aren’t adding an All-Star-caliber power forward, as well, unlike the Heat (Chris Bosh) and Cavs (Kevin Love) in 2010 and 2014, respectively,” wrote ESPN, which predicted last month that the Lakers will finish 46-36 as the sixth seed in the Western Conference in 2018-19.
Likewise, Bleacher Report acknowledged that the Los Angeles Lakers, even with LeBron James, still don’t have a roster that could realistically compete against those of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. While the publication admitted that adding Jimmy Butler or Damian Lillard could help their chances of making the Finals, as Bill Simmons predicted, it stressed that the Lakers won’t have any excuse if James doesn’t win himself a fourth championship ring before he ends his tenure with the Lakers.