Luke Walton and Rob Pelinka expect the Lakers to be title contenders this season

2017 NBA Draft Combine - Day Two

The Los Angeles Lakers have high expectations this season after capturing LeBron James and fans are excited for what the new campaign will have in store.

The minimum aim for the purple and gold will be to end a five-year playoff drought but within the franchise, they've set their sights on more.

As an organisation with 16 championships, the ultimate goal is always to add another banner.

Championship mentality

General manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Luke Walton are not looking to play down their chances of going all the way this year.

The duo have lofty expectations and spoke about how they're hoping to reach them in a recent interview with ESPN Los Angeles.

Pelinka made it clear that the Lakers are always looking to win a title but believes they can have a successful season even if they fail to land the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Rob Pelinka is desperate to bring a title back to L.A.

“Well, I think it depends on how you define success. There is one goal, and we’ve talked about that: It’s to win a championship, and we’re going to play for that this year," Pelinka said.

"Our fans, Jeanie, Magic, Luke and I, that’s our goal, is to win a championship every year.

“But there are other components of success too. Part of that is just the progression. I think we owe our fans the chance to experience playoff basketball in L.A. again.

"It’s been five years. That’s too long. And so that’s something that we really want to do.”

Taking steps

Just making the postseason will be tough in a hugely competitive Western Conference and returning after a long absence will be a positive start for the Lakers.

Their failure to land another superstar to play with LeBron means their chances of winning a championship are quite slim.

However, Walton has no doubt that they can be among the contenders but admits the process of getting there may take some time.

“September 7th? Probably not. But do I think come April, come playoff months? I think absolutely we are. It takes time," he said.

Walton will be expected to lead the Lakers back to the playoffs

"You never just put a team together and they’re instantly a championship contender but that’s what the regular season is going to be all about this year, and that’s what these guys coming in every day, playing together and getting to know each other and lifting weights together is about.

"So I think by the time the season comes and goes and we get towards the playoffs if all goes the way we plan on then I truly believe we are.”

No team in NBA history has gone from not making the playoffs to winning the title the following year, which shows just how difficult the task will be for Los Angeles.

LeBron James has been to eight straight NBA Finals

The Cleveland Cavaliers almost became the first team to do it in 2015 when James led them to the finals against the Golden State Warriors but eventually lost in six games.

Fans in Tinseltown are hoping the King can have that same effect on their storied franchise in his first campaign and create another piece of history.

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