NBA-LeBron fires back at critics who say Lakers are too old

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The flurry of deals the Los Angeles Lakers have made during free agency have led critics to point out that the "purple and gold" could look more like the "purple and old" after the team sacrificed young talent to bring in veteran players.

After adding Carmelo Anthony, 37, Trevor Ariza, 36, and Dwight Howard, 35, the team has an average age of 31.4 years, making them the oldest in the NBA, according to SB Nation.

A handful of other teams could be a full decade younger than the 2020 champions when the regular season kicks off on Oct. 19.

"Keep talking about my squad," the 36-year-old LeBron James wrote on Twitter.

"Our personnel ages, the way he plays, he stays injured, we're past our time in this league, etc etc etc. Do me one favor PLEASE!!!! And I mean PLEASE!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when it begins! That's all I ask. #ThankYou"

The Lakers aging process began in earnest when the team parted with a raft of young talent including Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to nab forward Anthony Davis in 2019.

Davis, 28, struggled to stay healthy last season and the defending champions fell in the first round of the playoffs.

Last month, the team dealt several players in their 20s including rising star Kyle Kuzma to the Washington Wizards in exchange for explosive 32-year-old point guard Russell Westbrook, making it clear the Lakers are in "win now" mode.

While the offense is expected to remain potent, it is on the defensive end of the floor where the team may have to worry.

Opponents will look to expose any sluggishness by playing with pace, putting slower defenders into pick and rolls, and pushing the tempo on fast breaks.

But for now, James just hopes those who question the wisdom of the roster moves "keep talking."

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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