Despite some brief pushback, it appears the NBA is moving forward with a December 22 start date. While that gives most of the league plenty of rest, the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat are going to have a very short offseason. LeBron James was reportedly one of the players against the quick start but he has yet to come out with his thoughts publicly.
However, ESPN pointed out that should the NBA start on December 22, they would have the shortest offseason in recorded sports history. LeBron reacted to that fact with a facepalm emoji.
After a grueling run in the NBA bubble that only recently ended, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers and Heat already starting to get ready for the next season. Unfortunately, there’s too much money at stake and the league needs to start back up quickly.
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LeBron Has Changed Mind on NBA Start Date
While LeBron isn’t in love with the idea of playing so soon, apparently he’s changed mind. Things are a bit more complicated now so the superstar doesn’t have much of a choice.
“LeBron initially pushed back against this, and subsequently, it’s been explained to me that LeBron changed his position,” said ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, via Real GM. “Crossed the aisle, said ‘I’m okay going December 22nd even though I have to change my routines and I’m not happy about the short offseason because it’s the best thing for business.’
“But LeBron owes the NBA money right now. He owes them cash. As crazy as that is to say.”
“There’s about 12 of these guys who owe an IOU,” replied Bobby Marks.
LeBron has already been paid in full for the 2020-21 season. The problem is that NBA revenue is going to be way down so a lot of players are going to have to take pay cuts. Since LeBron has already been paid, he might have to give some of that back. Despite being the league’s biggest star, he doesn’t have as much leverage in this situation as previously thought.
Will LeBron Load Manage?
Shortly after the upcoming NBA season starts, LeBron will turn 36. He proved last season that his age hasn’t caught up with him yet but he also got a huge break prior to the playoffs. That doesn’t seem likely to happen this year. The Lakers are going to start on December 22 and keep going until a championship is won. That’s going to be grueling for LeBron after he just got done winning a title and doesn’t get a lot of time to get his body right.
LeBron has been against the idea of load management for his career. We’ve seen stars like Kawhi Leonard limit how many games he plays in an effort to stay fresh for the playoffs. While he might hate the idea, LeBron should consider managing his workload this season. Nobody is going to judge him due to the unique circumstances. LeBron should only play in 50 or 60 of the 72 games.