LeBron James has gone from 8 straight trips to the NBA Final to missing the playoffs altogether for the first time since his age 20 season. But things are going to get even more unusual for James as Lakers agreed with him on a minutes restriction for the rest of the season as the club officially gives up on the play offs.
The report comes after Lakers dropped to 30-35 on the season following a loss to the Denver Nuggets in a game that LeBron passed Michael Jordan to become the 4th highest scorer of all time.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo sports was the first to report this news after LeBron had stated a few days back that as long as he is fit, he was not going to sit out of games. However, the report now states that LeBron might sit out games that are the back half of the bak-to-back night games.
LeBron to sit out games
Through this, James gets his desire to not be shut down for the season, instead a lighter load means its more a cool down than a shut down. While the Lakers also reduce the load for James and ensure his injury risk is low and he comes back a lot more fresh next season after having suffered the biggest injury of his career earlier in the season with a pulled groin.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 7, 2019
BREAKING NBA: James will face a minutes restriction and will likely be held out of back-to-back sets going forward, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. Free Fantasy Analysis Here: https://t.co/WIoDabA1U9
— Fantasy Alarm (@FantasyAlarm) March 7, 2019
Lakers set to tank
James who is averaging 27.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists for the season has 3 years left on his contract and the Lakers will hope he stays healthy through it all or they will have a Kobe like situation on their hands. So, keeping James healthy is a priority, but for James, not being shut down is important as he looks towards the off season where he will have to do some serious recruiting.
James being shut down for the next 18 games will show signs of weakness from a man previously thought unassailable and will make other star free agents hesitant about joining up with him and getting stuck on a bad team with injured LeBron.
With this move, the Lakers have essentially confirmed that they would be looking to tank the remaining part of the season, as they prepare for the draft, rather than for the playoffs.
Reports said @KingJames will be seen with limited minutes inside the court.
Reason? Story here.https://t.co/4qjlo3E2e3
— FOX Sports PH (@FOXSports_PH) March 8, 2019
While this was not what LeBron would’ve been hoping for from his first season in LA, it might not be the worst outcome as the Lakers weren’t in serious contention for the title this season, and by missing playoffs this early in the season Lakers can refocus on their plan for the off season, while giving an aging LeBron the more time to recuperate than he’s ever had in his stellar and long career.