LeBron James might miss out on the NBA playoffs this season but the Los Angeles Lakers forward is confident he will be back in the postseason mix in years to come.
James' first year in LA has not gone to plan for the four-time MVP as the Lakers have struggled for consistency and the 34-year-old has struggled with injury.
A game-high 36 points from James helped the Lakers snap a five-game losing streak on Tuesday, his efforts crucial in a 123-107 win over the Chicago Bulls.
It is unlikely to be enough to extend the Lakers' season, but James believes they will be playoff contenders in the future.
"I'll be watching it if we're not there, and it looks like our chances are slim to none after each and every game," he told reporters. "And so many teams in the West are playing well.
"So you try to get better, but this won't be the last time I'll be in the postseason."
He added: "Obviously, I would love for the team to be in the postseason.
"But right now, it's not the hand I was dealt, so you play the hand that you were dealt until the dealer shuffles the cards and you're dealt another hand and can do that."
And James says the final matches of the season could be crucial in helping the young Lakers squad.
"We're still playing playoff teams," James said. "For our young guys to be able to play playoff teams on the road, it's very key for their development still.
"We have an opportunity on this road trip. We go into Toronto our next game. We go into Detroit, who's a playoff team. We go into Milwaukee at the end of the trip. All playoff teams, all good teams.
"Those games will be like playoff games, if we want them to be. They'll get an opportunity to learn, and I get an opportunity to play with them, so we can take that out of it for sure."
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