Though it may not seem like it at times, LeBron James is a soon-to-be 37-year-old entering his 19th season in the NBA. The workload that the Los Angeles Lakers give him this season could ultimately reflect that.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday that the team will manage James’ workload on a “day to day” basis this year and that he does not envision the four-time MVP playing in all 82 games. Vogel also said that he would like to limit James to about 34 minutes a night overall.
James played in 45 of 72 contests last season, averaging 33.4 minutes per game. But much of that was due to the high-ankle sprain he suffered in March and subsequent reintegration period.
Even if James is now fully healthy and coming off the longest offseason of his career, the Lakers will continue to be conservative with his workload. Adding Russell Westbrook as another primary playmaker should help them accomplish that goal. Rest assured, James still seems to be getting plenty of run elsewhere too.
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One new Los Angeles Laker has LeBron James throwing on his Davy Jones wig and singing “I’m A Believer.”
James had high praise for Lakers rookie Austin Reaves after Thursday’s preseason loss to the Sacramento Kings. The 22-year-old guard filled up the stat sheet with five points, five rebounds, and seven assists off the bench.
“He’s an NBA player,” James said of Reaves, per Lakers reporter Mike Trudell. “He can play at this level. I watched a lot of film on him when we [signed] him. His size, shot making ability, passing. High IQ kid, and he has a lot of dog in him.”
Reaves, who recently went from a two-way contract to a standard contract with the Lakers, is now getting an opportunity to strut his stuff. The team has suffered injuries to Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and others, opening up more playing time in the backcourt.
LeBron James was definitely trying to pack as much action as he could into his Sunday.
The Los Angeles Lakers star attended the Week 5 showdown between the Los Angeles Chargers and his hometown Cleveland Browns at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The CBS broadcast of the game showed James cheering in a suite towards the end of the first half.
What is notable about James’ appearance though is that the Lakers had a scheduled preseason game against the Phoenix Suns tipping off just hours later. SoFi Stadium is roughly ten miles away from Staples Center, which can make for a seriously lengthy commute in Los Angeles’ notorious traffic, especially on the Columbus Day long weekend. Seeing as the Chargers-Browns game had an afternoon kickoff time, that made for a pretty quick turnaround for James to arrive in time for the Lakers’ game, including warmups and going through his pregame ritual.
Of course, it is only the preseason, and James probably left the NFL game early anyway. But if that was the case, he sure missed one great ending.
Enes Kanter thinks that LeBron James fumbled the bag with his recent public statements on the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Boston Celtics center Kanter called out James this week in an interview with CNN’s Pamela Brown. Kanter expressed disappointment that James referred to the vaccine as a personal choice instead of making a stronger public statement.
“You know, when I heard it, I was very disappointed and it is ridiculous,” said Kanter. “Obviously LeBron James, he’s one of the faces of the league. And he should be the first one to go out there and say, ‘Listen, everyone, I got the vaccine and I’m encouraging everyone, my community, everyone, basketball fans, non-basketball fans, all sport fans to go out, get this vaccine so we could save other lives.’
“So when I heard that, I just can’t believe it,” Kanter added. “But I hope he could educate himself about this vaccination and encourage other people around him.”
Dwight Howard will have LeBron James’ blessing to let it fly next season … if he meets one condition first.
The Los Angeles Lakers center Howard said on Instagram Live this weekend that his superstar teammate will allow him to shoot three-pointers during games in which Howard records at least two blocked shots.
“LeBron said if I get two blocks, I can get a three-pointer,” said Howard. “I’m finna try to get NINE BLOCKS every game.”
James seemed to commit to a slightly different version of the agreement with Howard though.
The 35-year-old Howard will have to step up his game regardless. He only averaged 0.9 blocks a game last year with the Philadelphia 76ers. Granted, that did include 19 multi-block games out of 81 total appearances, regular season and playoffs.
Howard has made just 14 three-pointers in 17 career NBA seasons. But he has been working on the shot for years and now has an incentive to get both his block numbers and his three-point numbers up next season.
Rajon Rondo returned to the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason after spending a year elsewhere, and his veteran teammates are happy to have him back. LeBron James and Anthony Davis had high praise for Rondo this week, and the point guard was emotionally moved — kind of.
A reporter told Rondo on Tuesday that LeBron and Davis specifically mentioned how much Rondo was missed on last year’s Lakers team. The 35-year-old had a hilarious reaction.
Several NBA players have revealed this week that they chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine. While LeBron James is not among that group, the Los Angeles Lakers star says he has no interest in influencing the decision of his peers.
LeBron told reporters on Tuesday that he received the COVID-19 vaccine, though he says he was “very skeptical” about it at first. Though he felt taking the vaccine was right for him and his family, James said he will not use his status to encourage others to get vaccinated.
LeBron James explains his decision to get vaccinated, but wanting to respect others for whether they decide to get it pic.twitter.com/khPH3NePAX
“I don’t talk about other people and what they should do. I speak for me and my family,” LeBron said. “We’re talking about individual bodies. We’re not talking about something that’s political or racism or police brutality or things of that nature. I don’t feel like, for me personally, that I should get involved in what other people should do to their bodies.”
“I would ask the question to those who are getting vaccinated — why are you still getting COVID? … You can still get COVID and still pass it along if vaccinated,” Beal said.
Things could really get complicated for the NBA in places like New York City, where unvaccinated individuals are not allowed inside sports arenas and other indoor spaces. Irving was asked this week how that will be handled for him, and he didn’t have interest in discussing it.
If the Los Angeles Lakers were trying to keep their special LeBron James-led training camp under tight wraps, it appears that they were unsuccessful.
Twitter user @LakeShowChris_ posted multiple videos to the site this week of the Lakers practicing at his high school in Las Vegas, Nev. The practice was part of a three-day minicamp that was planned by James to build chemistry for the new-look team.
The footage was taken at an angle as the user tweeted that he took it from underneath the door to the gym. Players like James, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook could be seen putting in work while new assistant coach David Fizdale and others guided them. Take a look.
When reached for comment, the Twitter user told Larry Brown Sports that the gym was difficult to reach as both security and school principals were standing guard outside. He says he was able to find an alternate entrance however and filmed the above footage from underneath a locked door.
James, Anthony Davis, and Talen Horton-Tucker are the only Lakers left from last year’s team. While new signees Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo were all already Lakers in years past, the team still has a lot of first-time teammates to acquaint with one another. That appears to be the spirit behind the James-led minicamp, which is just the latest in an offseason of hard work for the Lakers.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA MVP in 2020 for the second time and topped that with an NBA title and Finals MVP Award in 2021.
Despite his ascension, the modest Antetokounmpo still doesn’t believe he’s the best player in basketball. In fact, the five-time All-Star doesn’t even believe he’s in the top five or six.
Antetokounmpo credits LeBron James for being not only the best player in the NBA, but in the world. There’s a solid list after that and then, Antetokounmpo says, he might fit in with the tier 2 guys.
“I like being a hunter. I am not the best player in the world. I am telling you, I am not! KD, LeBron, Kawhi, Luka, Curry, AD might be. I am not. I am still hunting the All-Time greats. LeBron is still the best player in the world,” Antetokounmpo said on Friday, via Harris Stavrou of SPORT24.
James has long been considered the league’s best player but there’s an argument to be made that’s no longer the case.
Antetokounmpo or Luka Doncic are the future of the NBA and in due time — perhaps even this upcoming season — they will become the face of the “best player” debate.
“I feel like we have nobody on the team like just, ‘Give him the ball, and then everybody just watch and let them make the play,'” he said. “It’s a collective. We’re going to need everybody to score and rebound and defend every night. And that’s the best team to be on, when you don’t have to run to the corner every play and wait for a guy to make a play for you.”
Morris also said that he expected to be back with the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason and was taken aback when he was not re-signed.
“I really didn’t expect it,” he added. “It’s business sometimes. There isn’t too much I can say about that. It was super unexpected. For sure, I thought I was going back to the Lakers. But, sometimes I’m not in teams’ plans and that’s how it works sometimes.”
Morris’ comments certainly seem to read as a shot at James and the Lakers. James once again had one of the highest usage rates in the NBA last season, and much of the Lakers’ offense has revolved around waiting for James to penetrate and make a play for others.
The 32-year-old Morris did win an NBA title with the Lakers in 2020. But he had scant averages in his Lakers career of 6.0 shot attempts in 18.7 minutes per game. Morris rarely hides the way that he truly feels, and this seems to be another instance of that.