Lakers’ LeBron James says team will be ‘very conscientious’ about approach because of early start to season

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals to win their 17th title on Oct. 11. The 2020-21 NBA season will begin on Dec. 22. That 71-day offseason is the shortest in league history and is going to create an additional challenge as LeBron James and Co. look to repeat as champions. 

On Monday, the reigning Finals MVP spoke to reporters about his reaction to the news that the season was going to start before Christmas, and his plan for dealing with the short break. Via the Los Angeles Times:

“I was like, ‘Wow!’ And I said, ‘Oh, (bleep),'” James said during a videoconference with reporters Monday after the Lakers’ second day of practice. “Being completely honest, I wasn’t expecting that because the early conversations that were going on, I was hearing it would kind of be a mid-January start and training camp would kind of start after Christmas.

“We’re going to be as smart as we can be . . . we’re making sure I’m ready to [play],” James said. “Obviously every game matters, but we’re competing for something that’s hard. We don’t ever want to short-change our stuff. As for me personally, it’s often a kind of fine line. But understanding with the shortened season . . . the offseason is going to be the shortest offseason for any professional sport ever. We’re very conscientious about what we do going forward as far as me personally.”

LeBron’s comments come in the wake of a report that the league will be cracking down on teams utilizing load management. Starting with this upcoming season, teams will now be fined $100,000 if they are caught resting healthy players during nationally televised games. 

Though he’s needed games off here and there for injuries or rest like any other player, LeBron has never been a big load management guy. As he said last season, “If I’m hurt, I don’t play. If not, I’m playing. That’s what has always been my motto… I’m healthy, I play. I probably got a good 45 years to not play basketball.” 

But the reason he’s been able to follow through on that motto is because of the extensive time and care he puts into maintaining his body during the offseason. Between personal trainers, high-tech equipment and chefs, he easily spends over $1 million per year on his body. While there’s no doubt he did his best to maintain those standards over the past few months, it’s simply not possible to go through all of his normal training and procedures in 71 days, and while also trying to navigate COVID-19. 

All things considered, he’s going to have to take more games off than normal this season, and his quotes hint at that. It might go against his nature, but there’s just no way around it given the condensed schedule, and the Lakers’ plans to compete for another title. And if that means the Lakers have to eat a few fines to keep him healthy, they’ll do so without thinking. 

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Written by Chekmagazine


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