Load management has become quite the topic of conversation and contention in Los Angeles.
“Y’all want me to sit out?” James told The Athletic. “I don’t know how many games I got left in my career. I don’t know how many kids that may show up to a game and they’re there to come see me play and if I sit out, then what?
“That’s my obligation. My obligation is to play, play for my teammates and if I’m healthy, then I’m going to play.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers was asked about the comments made by James, considering his team has been in the spotlight of the conversation with star Kawhi Leonard.
“It’s our philosophy. I don’t know what theirs are,” Rivers said. “I think theirs is whatever LeBron says it is, to be honest. That makes a lot of sense to me. I like what we are doing and I think it’s the smart thing to do. We’ll see at the end.”
The NBA fined the Clippers $50,000 not for sitting Leonard in a nationally televised game against the Bucks in September, but for what Rivers said about the health of last years Finals MVP.
“He feels great. But he feels great because of what we’ve been doing. We’re just going to continue to do it. There’s no concern here. But we want to make sure. I think Kawhi made a statement that he’s never felt better. It’s our job to make sure he stays that way.”
Lakers to Obey LeBron James on Load Management Plans
Rivers isn’t wrong about the Lakers plan with James this season. They plan to fully listen to the future Hall of Famer, as head coach Frank Vogel laid out.
“He knows that we’re open-minded and even encouraging him to look for smart opportunities to recharge the batteries,” Vogel said. “But we’re respecting what he wants to do and he wants to be in there. So, like I said, we’re going to respect that.”
James played in just 55 games last year as the Lakers missed the playoffs, breaking his 13-year streak of making the playoffs. But with that time off came a recharged LeBron, who has been tearing it up alongside his All-Pro teammate Anthony Davis.
James is averaging 34.7 minutes per game, 25.9 points, 10.6 points and 7.4 rebounds.
Lakers See Winning Streak End Against Pacers
The Lakers were in control early, but suffered their first loss in 15 tries on the road on Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers, 105-102.
James had 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, but it wasn’t enough as Rajon Rondo’s game-trying 3-pointer rimmed out.
The game was the fourth game of a five-game Eastern Conference swing for the Lakers. They close it out against the Bucks in a matchup of the league’s two best teams on Thursday.
“Feels like we’ve been on the road all year,” James said. “We pride ourselves on trying not to lose two in a row so we want to come back on Thursday in Milwaukee and play Lakers basketball.”
The Lakers played without star Anthony Davis, who tweaked his ankle against the Hawks on Sunday.