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LeBron confident about Lakers' title chances: 'We've done it before'

Juan Ocampo / National Basketball Association / Getty

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is focused on competing for his fifth championship despite the franchise missing out on free-agent additions this summer.

"We've done it before and we still have two guys who commit every single day with myself and AD (Anthony Davis)," James said, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "We commit to excellence and commit to win. And we feel like any situation, any given year, we can put ourselves in a position to be able to succeed."

Since winning a title in 2020, the Lakers have fallen short of capturing another championship. The closest the franchise came was a surprise run to the Western Conference finals in 2023, when they lost to the Denver Nuggets, who went on to win the title. L.A. was eliminated in the first round this past season by the same team.

James returned to the Lakers this summer, signing a two-year deal worth $101.3 million and helping the franchise remain under the second apron of the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement. He took the discount even though the franchise missed out on signing an "impact player" for whom he was reportedly willing to take a pay cut, such as Klay Thompson, James Harden, Jonas Valanciunas, and DeMar DeRozan.

"It takes two to tango," James said. "I think our front office, our coaching staff, they tried to do the job that they wanted to do or tried to get guys to come and it didn't happen. And that's OK. That's part of the business. I've been in this business long enough to know that sometimes it happens, sometimes it don't.

"So we don't sit here and lie about or cry about it. We move on, and Klay's a great player. Obviously DeMar's a great player. Valanciunas was one of those guys who ended up going to Washington, was someone that was in talks with us, but we move on to see how we continue to get better."

The Lakers have yet to sign an outside free agent but have added players through the draft, picking Tennessee wing Dalton Knecht and LeBron's son, Bronny James. The franchise also signed wing Max Christie to a reported four-year, $32-million deal.

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