Lakers Should Start ‘Load Managing’ LeBron James, Says Analyst

lebron james

Getty Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

Despite the Los Angeles Clippers making more noise at the trade deadline, the Lakers still sit atop the Western Conference and have a strong team. Many have pegged the Clippers as the favorites in the West thanks to the Marcus Morris addition, but it would be foolish to count out the Lakers because they didn’t make a trade deadline move.

The Lakers’ success will largely depend on how LeBron James holds up in the playoffs. He hasn’t rested much this season while Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is fond of taking days off. Sean Farnham on ESPN’s First Take suggested the Lakers start giving LeBron fewer minutes.

“What LeBron James needs to do is sit down,” Farnham said. “Because he’s played more minutes than anybody in NBA history outside of Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, including the postseason. He’s got a lot of tread that has been worn off those tires.”

Farnham doesn’t think that it needs to be a big deal. The Lakers should just be smarter about letting LeBron rest when they play bad teams.

“You wanna talk about load management? Load management has been going on in the NBA for a long time. You know what load management used to be? When you played the Suns, you didn’t play all game long. You played minimal minutes and then sat down and chilled the rest of the game.”

Too Early for Load Management?

Thanks to the fact that LeBron is 35-years old, it’s fair to suggest that he probably should take it easy from time to time. He’s certainly been playing at an elite level for most of the season, but the playoffs are a different beast. It remains to be seen how LeBron will hold up after the rigors of an 82-game season at his age. It could be a problem if the team gets deep into the playoffs.

That said, the Lakers are 6-4 in their last 10 games and their lead in the Western Conference has been shrinking. Plus, this team is not great when LeBron is off the floor. It may be a bit premature to suggest Los Angeles start resting their best player. However, if there lead in the conference gets bigger, perhaps the Lakers should consider it.

Follow the Heavy on Lakers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Lebron Is Not a Fan

It may not even be up to the Lakers whether or not LeBron starts resting more. He’s been a big voice against the idea of “load management.”

“If I’m healthy, I play,” James said back in December, per the Los Angeles Times. “I mean, that should be the approach. I mean, unless we’re getting to like late in the season and we’ve clinched and we can’t get any better or any worse, it could benefit from that, but why wouldn’t I play if I’m healthy? It doesn’t make any sense to me, personally.

“I mean, 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.”

It’s certainly an admirable approach by LeBron. He clearly still loves playing the game and he’d hate to disappoint fans who came to a game to see him play. It seems unlikely LeBron could ever get used to the idea of any significant “load management.”

READ NEXT: J.R. Smith Headlines 6 Potential Lakers Signings, per NBA Insider

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments