Wade on James being a Laker: 'Never count that guy out'

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As Dwyane Wade contemplates whether to retire from basketball or come back for his 16th season, the shooting guard has been keeping a close eye on his buddy, LeBron James.

Wade and James were together last week watching their sons play on the AAU circuit. Both players have been outspoken about how proud they are to watch their sons play and succeed on the court.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters Monday to discuss his role as a global ambassador of the upcoming Jr. NBA World Championship, Wade gave his first public comments regarding James taking his talents to the Western Conference and signing with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James signed a four-year, $153.5 million max contract with the Lakers. The four-time MVP led the Cleveland Cavaliers to four straight Finals appearances in his second stint with Cleveland. The Cavs won it all in 2016 over the Warriors, becoming the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals.

While many have questioned James' move to the Lakers since the roster appears nowhere near ready to compete for a championship, Wade says he will never bet against LeBron.

"Well, first do not count him out," Wade told reporters on the conference call. "That would be the wrong thing to do. I think in his mind, he prepares to go to the Finals every year. That is the God-given ability and talent that he has been gifted and given. It definitely has added another amazing chapter to his storybook career, and we are all going to watch to see how it unfolds, but I would never count that guy out."

This past season, the Lakers finished 35-47, good for 11th place in the rugged Western Conference. By adding James -- the best player in the game -- to the roster, experts have predicted that the Lakers will be a top 10 team in the NBA in 2018-19.