LeBron James wants to "destroy as many people as possible" as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar looks to silence his doubters, according to Richard Jefferson.
James swapped the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Lakers in 2018-19 but he was unable to lead the storied NBA franchise to the playoffs.
The 34-year-old averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists for the Lakers, who missed the postseason for the sixth successive season.
James, who also struggled with a groin injury that limited him to 55 games, failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004-05.
Jefferson, who played alongside James for the Cavaliers from 2015-17, backed the three-time champion and four-time MVP to bounce back in a big way.
More than half of the Lakers' 2019-20 season will be broadcasted to a national audience.https://t.co/P03UtUudiF— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 12, 2019
"LeBron James will be the best player in basketball next year, again," Jefferson told ESPN's 'Get Up!' on Monday.
"Now, will he be the LeBron James from '08 and chasing down blocks? No. But, he's going to do so many different things. … I think he understands the disrespect. He's felt it over the course of his career, at different levels. Now, it's like 'Oh, you're old. You're not that guy anymore'.
"But, I think, really and truly, he's more focused on proving to people that basketball is the most important thing to him. And, the only way to do that is to go and destroy as many people as possible."
The Lakers' roster should be much improved this season after they acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks this offseason.
Los Angeles had cap space to add a third star next to James and Davis, but missed out on Kawhi Leonard, who joined cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers then signed Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso to deals.
|Abreu signs $50million, three-year White Sox deal|
|Lions to start Driskel again as injured Stafford ruled out|
|Giannis makes history in Bucks win, Pelicans eclipse Suns|
|Texans edge Colts for top spot in AFC South|
|White Sox sign Yasmani Grandal|
|Antonio Brown files denial to accusations of sexual assault|
|Myles Garrett has indefinite ban upheld as Mason Rudolph agents deny racism claims|
|NFL Week 12 Bullet Points: Three must-know stats previewing every game|
|Paul George lauds Kawhi Leonard after duo´s maiden Clippers outing|
|Popovich frustrated as Spurs losing streak goes on|
|Simmons savours memorable three as 76ers star eyes Tokyo Olympics|
|Doncic triple-double inspires humiliation of Warriors, Kawhi & Leonard play together|
|76ers star Simmons nails first regular-season three-pointer|
|Pau Gasol waived by Trail Blazers|
|Maple Leafs sack Mike Babcock amid struggles|
|Bears keep faith with under-fire Trubisky|
|I´m not doing another - Bell hits out at NFL over drugs testing|
|Rudolph takes share of the blame for Garrett clash|
|Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku designated to return from IR|
|Kerr delighted to see Warriors get their reward|
|LeBron James makes history, says it´s ´pretty cool´|
|Carmelo Anthony upbeat despite Blazers debut defeat|
|LeBron makes history in Lakers´ win, Trail Blazers lose on Anthony´s debut|
|Carmelo Anthony officially joins Portland Trail Blazers|
|Gronkowski hints at NFL comeback - but will not return in 2019|
|Chargers QB Rivers determined to cut out costly turnovers|
|Amazed Russell Westbrook says ´nobody else´ can match James Harden|
|Anthony: Trail Blazers move the perfect opportunity|
|Carlisle salutes ´phenomenal´ Doncic triple-double|
|Doncic joins LeBron after 40-point triple-double, Clippers edge Thunder|
|Chiefs overcome Chargers in Mexico|
|Nagy insists Trubisky change was ´zero to do with his play´|
|Kitchens ´still a Myles Garrett fan´ as Browns support suspended star|
|Tua Tagovailoa´s prognosis ´excellent´ after successful surgery|
|Brady hopes workout yields opportunities for Kaepernick|
|Marcus Smart rues late misfortune as Celtics´ winning streak snapped|
|Sullen Tom Brady says Patriots can ´do everything better´ despite clipping Eagles´ wings|
|LeBron James: I´m just trying to put on a show for Kobe Bryant|
|Kings snap Celtics´ 10-game winning streak, LeBron leads Lakers|
|Patriots, 49ers improve to 9-1|
|Tua Tagovailoa to undergo hip surgery|
|Kaepernick proved he can play, says former 49ers team-mate Reid|
|Falcons QB Ryan moves into NFL´s top 10 for all-time passing yards|
|He´s playing at a high level – Harbaugh hails Ravens QB Jackson|
|Lamar Jackson stars again as Ravens thrash Texans, Vikings rally to down Broncos|
|Rockets could have chalked it up – James Harden impressed by depleted Houston´s show of resolve|
|Clippers´ George revels in memorable home debut after 150-101 win|
|I´m not here to make history – Popovich explains confusion over Hammon and Duncan|
|Harden scores 49 points in Rockets win, Kawhi-less Clippers crush Hawks|
|NFL prospect Tua Tagovailoa to miss rest of season with dislocated hip|
|Patriots without Chung for Eagles clash|
|D´Angelo Russell suffers thumb sprain in another Warriors blow|
|The ball is in their court, we´re ready to go - Kaepernick sends message to NFL after workout|
|Kaepernick workout location changed as representatives slam NFL|
|Tua Tagovailoa: Top NFL quarterback prospect carted off with hip injury|
|LeBron James: Tom Brady and I are one in the same|
|I just will those shots in - Kemba Walker on his fourth-quarter heroics|
|LeBron leads Lakers in Walton reunion, Celtics win 10th straight|
|LeBron James: Walton did all he could with Lakers|
|Colts QB Brissett to start against Jaguars|
|Lakers´ Davis has no plans for load management ahead of return|
|Philadelphia Eagles sign RB Ajayi|
|Suspended Garrett determined to learn from ´terrible mistake´|
|Stafford not ready to return for Lions against Cowboys on Sunday|
|Eagles veteran Sproles ruled out for rest of season|
|Myles Garrett suspended indefinitely by NFL|
|I´m not gonna try to win them over now – Porzingis addresses boos from Knicks fans|
|Paul George labels 33-point Clippers debut ´terrible´|
|Myles Garrett: I made a mistake, lost my cool & I regret it|
|Pelicans spoil George´s Clippers debut, Giannis powers Bucks|