LeBron James says he’s flattered by L.A. billboards but isn’t ready to think about free agency
As of Friday morning, LeBron James hadn’t seen any of the billboards raised Wednesday by a Lakers fan hoping to lure him to L.A. He’d seen photos on the internet, though.
“Listen, I’m 15 years into my career. Fans and cities want me to play for their team or have dreams, I think it’s pretty cool,” the Cleveland Cavaliers star said. “My kids see things like that, they think it’s cool, I think it’s cool. It’s flattering more than anything that a fan of a team or somewhere will want me to play in their city. It’s very flattering.”
A report in The Ringer said James had narrowed to four the list of teams he would consider this summer: the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Cavaliers. James said Friday he has not yet made such a list.
“I got too much work to do here,” James said. “One thing about me and my career … I handle my business accordingly and when that time comes I’ll take care of that. But right now, my job right now is to get these guys prepared for the Clippers (Friday night) and how we continue to get better down the stretch.”
Williams out to prove himself
Derrick Williams was in L.A. on Friday when the Lakers called at 4:30 a.m. to tell him they could finally bring him onboard.
Williams had been in talks with the team for days as they worked to free him from the Chinese Basketball Association.
Williams signed a 10-day contract on Friday with the Lakers, then flew to Denver and was active against the Nuggets.
“I’m really excited,” Williams said. “A lot of nerves, but I’m just ready to play. The last game I played was in China so it’s going to be a big difference, but it’s going to be very good.”
Williams was the second overall pick out of Arizona in 2011, taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves. What followed was a journeyman career for now-26-year-old. He played for the Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Cavaliers before going to China this past Jan. 1. He played in China until Feb 11.
“I think I chose the China route for a reason,” Williams said. “I wanted to get away and really work on my game. That’s what I did and I’m glad to be in the position I am. ... I’m from Los Angeles, my family’s from here and I think that’s going to be a good thing not just for myself but for my family as well.”
Playing in China with other former NBA players helped Williams regain his confidence, and he said it also helped him get back to basics with his game. Playing for the Lakers will give him a chance to prove that he belongs in the NBA, he added.
“He gives us another big body especially with Brandon [Ingram] being out,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “He has played in the NBA, knows the NBA game and it will take him time to get familiar with our play sets and whatnot and get used to playing with the guys, but gives us another versatile option of a talented player that can play [small or power forward] for us.”
Isaiah not the only famous Thomas
With some free time on his hands Thursday, Isaiah Thomas went in search of a few billboards in L.A.
No, not the billboards raised to recruit James. Thomas was looking for billboards with photos of his two young sons, James and Jaiden.
“It was nice to see them up there smiling and looking good,” Thomas said.
The billboards feature Thomas’ sons along with the sons of Oklahoma City’s Carmelo Anthony and Houston’s Chris Paul. Thomas said the photo shoot took place in Atlanta in December.
“They actually did really good,” Thomas said. “I was surprised because their attention span doesn’t last that long. It was a long shooting day, they had to go to Atlanta to do it. It was nice. The pictures and the video and everything came out really good.”
Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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