Count New Orleans Pelicans executive president David Griffin among the people who believe LeBron James is beyond his best days.
The former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager told Sports Illustrated he was “miserable” trying to build a roster around the NBA superstar and questioned whether James is more focused on off-court priorities than helping the Lakers win. He said James changed after winning a title with his hometown Cavaliers in 2016.
“There wasn’t a lot else for him,” Griffin said. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.”
Griffin said he didn’t have fun trying to build a winning roster around James. While the effort did yield a championship, it left Griffin ready to move on when his contract expired in June 2017. He said the experience made him feel that he “didn’t love the game anymore.”
“Everything we did was so inorganic and unsustainable and, frankly, not fun. I was miserable,” Griffin said. “Literally the moment we won the championship I knew I was gonna leave. There was no way I was gonna stay for any amount of money.”
The Lakers are among the favorites to win the NBA title this season after acquiring Anthony Davis in a trade with the Pelicans earlier this summer. James’ first season in Los Angeles was a disappointment with the team finishing outside the postseason for the sixth consecutive season. Expectations will be higher in 2019-20, but it seems hard to fathom James will be given a free pass from the fans and media if the Lakers do not at least contend for a championship.