LeBron James to sit out last 6 games of Lakers’ season
Lhave our rotations down, and guys have been playing well.”
Although James’ first season with Los Angeles was a failure, it showed promise before injuries changed everything.
The Lakers were 2014 and in fourth place in the Western Conference when James strained his groin during a stunning 26-point road victory over Golden State on Christmas. He sat out their next 17 games in the longest injury absence of his career.
James returned to the lineup for good in early February, but the injuryplagued Lakers were unable to recover and make the playoffs.
Along with James, the Lakers are finishing the season without three key players in their young core. Brandon Ingram has been out since March 2 due to a blood clotting issue, while Lonzo Ball hasn’t played since Jan. 19 because of an ankle injury, and Josh Hart was ruled out for the season this week with a knee injury.
“I haven’t been a part of a season with this ton of injuries to all our key guys, to big, big key guys,” James said earlier this month. “It’s just the way the season has been. We’ve had guys step up ... but for us, we prided ourselves on our depth to start the season, and obviously our depth has dwindled.”
Earlier this season, the 34-year-old James expressed ambivalence about the possibility of shutting himself down early, saying such a decision would clash with his natural competitiveness. He also said he felt fresh after the leastbusy season of his adult life.
But Johnson and Pelinka apparently persuaded James of the wisdom of an early wrap to a lost year, followed by a fresh start in the fall.
Overall, the Lakers went 28-27 with James in their lineup.