LeBron James will play for the Lakers next season.
But Charles Barkley does not think the expectations should be too high.
"They are No. 5 seeds, maybe six in the west,"  Barkley said in the Dan Patrick Show. "I do not think they're better than Oklahoma City, I do not think they're better than the Denver Nuggets."
"The Rockets are the surprising team for me, because I think they've regressed, I'm a big Trevor Ariza fan … Minnesota is better than the Lakers, as good as LeBron is – I see them as 4, 5, 6 seeds. "
Okay, let's try unpacking that.
Suppose Barkley considers the warriors to be better than the Lakers, he has four teams ̵
Barkley said the Rockets had gotten worse, but he does have them in front of them (19659002) One thing we know for sure:
"The West is unbelievable," Barkley said. "He (LeBron) has made 20 easy wins in recent years and will not get those easy 20 wins in the Western Conference."
On a recent episode of the Warriors Outsiders podcast I had the Lakers ranked # 6 in the west, while Grant Liffmann had # 7.
We reserve the right to change our mind when making our final forecasts in mid-October!
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter  @ DrewShiller