The Los Angeles Lakers are set to begin a pivotal campaign following the addition of All-Star forward LeBron James on a four-year, $153 million deal in free agency.
This has shifted the future of the franchise around the arrival of James has become the centerpiece of the team moving forward. With that in mind, head coach Luke Walton recently stated during an appearance on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles that he will have an ongoing discussion about the number of games and playing time he will play next season. (Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen and Roll)
“We’ve talked about the idea of it and I’ll be in constant communication with him all year long,” Walton said. “If it’s a night off, if it’s a back-to-back, whatever it is. If it’s practice, preferably if he’s going to take something off, take a practice off to stay fresh. But we’ve got him here for four years, and we want to be competing every single year that he’s here. If we do play him less minutes or he gets a night off, that’s a great opportunity for other players, some of the young guys so it’ll be an ongoing thing, a feel out thing as the season is going as far as minutes or whether he’s going to take this game off or that game off.”
The 33-year-old is coming off one of his most productive campaigns where he played in all 82 games for the first time in his illustrious career. This saw him average 27.5 points on 54.2 percent shooting from the field along with a career-best 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per contest.
Heading into his 16th campaign in the league, James is still playing some of the best basketball of his career. The Lakers are hoping to help maintain that high level of play throughout the duration of his deal and possibly further if he extends his career beyond that.
This should see the Lakers depend on their young core group to help progress along the way while easing the load on the court. This something that he didn’t have in the final year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is an aspect Los Angeles hopes to provide him to help them allow him to guide them to possibly contend for an NBA title.