Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James weighed in on the load management debate following the team’s seventh win of the season – a 95-80 victory over the visiting Miami Heat on Friday. The 34-year-old legend plans to stay true to his motto as he has no intention of missing games due to load management in anticipation of a postseason run.
“If I’m hurt, I don’t play. If not, I’m playing,” James told ESPN Dave McMenamin. “That’s what has always been my motto.”
The word “load management” caused a media storm after Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers sat out of two back-to-back highly anticipated games for consecutive weeks. Rivers then told reporters Wednesday that Leonard “feels great,” contradicting a league statement that supported the Clippers in their choice to sit an apparently healthy Leonard. The NBA later deemed Rivers’ comments “inconsistent” about Leonard’s health, therefore resulting in a $50,000 fine to the organization.
The 17-season legend, James has no interest in discussing Leonard’s situation, who the league determined had an acceptable reason to sit out as he continues to deal with an ongoing injury in his left knee. Instead, James shifted the focus of the conversation with McMenamin and proceeded to discuss his own plans.
“LeBron’s healthy, LeBron’ll play. That’s all I’ll talk about,” he said. “I don’t talk about nobody else but me.”
Superb Start to 2019-20 Season for LeBron James
James is putting in work as he is averaging 26.0 points, 10.5 assists and 7.8 rebounds making himself a key contributor in the Laker’s success this season, who are 7-1. He also made history as the first player since 1987 to record three straight triple-doubles on the Lakers’ 3-0 road trip.
As McMenamin of ESPN reports, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, said the team plans to protect James from overwork “every way we can… whether it’s off days in practice or minimize his minutes, minimize his load” stated Vogel.
The ultimate goal of sitting games is to reduce playing time, which can also be accomplished by just playing fewer minutes. As of of SB Nation reveals James is averaging 32.5 minutes through his first four games, the lowest total of his career.
LeBron Sounds Ready to Log Big Minutes
The four-time MVP played a career-low of 55 games during his first season with the Lakers last year due to injury but appeared in all 82 matchups when he previously played for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With that said, James is not backing down from his eagerness to be present and dominate on the court.
“Talk to my coaches,” James told ESPN. “You know how many times me and T-Lue (referring to Tyronn Lue) got into it in Cleveland when he wanted to sit me and I wanted to play? I’m healthy, I play. I probably got a good 45 years to not play basketball.”
Many players have been asked about load management as the topic rampant across the NBA. LeBron is not the only star player in the league who will be on the court whenever possible, Houston Rockets guard James Harden will also refrain from the Kawhi approach when it comes to rest.
You can be sure to LeBron James on the court as the Lakers try and tie their longest win streak since the 2010-11 season on Sunday against the reigning champions the Toronto Raptors.