LeBron James is officially in offseason mode after the Los Angeles Lakers announced he would miss the rest of the year with a sprained ankle.
Just minutes after the news was announced, James took to Twitter, not to talk about his season ending, but to push his show “The Shop” and an appearance by rapper Gunna.
Coincidence? Probably not.
James did hop on shortly after with a genuine message talking about his season being over and looking ahead to Year 20.
“I appreciate it and love y’all love! Wish it was done in winning fashion though! Gave everything I had to this season when I was on the floor! See y’all again in the fall. #Year20 #SFG #KingMe”
With the Lakers out of playoff contention and James hobbled, there’s no real reason for him to be on the court. The only thing that could have potentially driven him to push through the pain would be a chance to wrangle the scoring title. He’s just a fraction behind Sixers big man Joel Embiid, who is notching 30.4 points per game. James is at 30.3 points. Even if Embiid falls back, James would not qualify for the scoring title because he didn’t play the required 58 games.
The injury designation for James is especially painful considering his April Fools’ “joke,” where LeBron said he could be out the rest of the year.
“I’m out for the season officially,” James tweeted on April 1. “See y’all in the fall.”
That wasn’t too far off the truth. James played just one more game after that tweet.
Lakers Injuries Derailed Season
By missing the final two games, James will have missed 26 games this year. His co-star, Anthony Davis, missed the majority of the year with various injuries. Their time away didn not help the team build any kind of cohesion with former MVP Russell Westbrook, who came over via blockbuster trade in the offseason.
“I think us three — us three being me, Bron and Russ — we played 15, 21 games together?” Davis said. “We didn’t expect us to only have 21 games together. But it’s just kind of been that year. Either I’m in or he’s in. And the times we do play together, we look really good and then somebody’s out of the lineup. It’s just kind of been that year. It’s been tough not being able to fully reach our potential as far as us three being on the floor and seeing what we really could be.”
James was banged up last season as well, returning before he was 100% in an attempt to fuel a playoff run by the Lakers. Instead, they got bounced in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.
James shared at the start of this season that he dislikes being on a minute restriction or sitting out in an effort to manage his load.
“I don’t play the game thinking about injuries,” James told reporters. “And I also feel worse when I play low minutes.”
James averaged 37.2 minutes per game this season, nearly four more than a year ago and 37-year-old’s most since the 2016-17 season.
Anthony Davis Fires Back Over Injury Concerns
James, Davis and Westbrook sat out on Thursday in a loss to the Warriors. For Davis, it was game No. 76 missed out of 152 he sat out since the start of the 2020-21 season.
Davis recently battled back against the sentiment he’s been injury-prone.
“My job is to be on the basketball floor and play games,” Davis told ESPN. “When I’m healthy, I’m a motherf—er. But I got to stay healthy. Unfortunately it was two injuries I couldn’t control this year but I’ll be back at it next year and see what happens.”
The Lakers will have the offseason to regroup, hopefully get healthy and make some key roster decisions.