When the NBA proposed Dec. 22 as the tipoff date for the 2020-21 season, rumors started circulating about LeBron James possibly missing the first weeks of the new campaign due to the extremely short offseason.
Player health concerns were among the main arguments against restarting the games in December. Financial considerations, however, outweighed the risks associated with the eight-week turnaround and even James was said to be supporting the Dec. 22 start date.
But even though the proposal received the green light, NBA teams will without a doubt pay special attention to the well-being of their players. Jared Dudley admitted in an exclusive interview with LakersNation.com that the Lakers might suffer a few extra losses during the 2020-21 campaign due to the prompt return of the league as their stars might get more days off than usual. However, he believes it will not hurt their title chances.
And general manager Rob Pelinka confirmed L.A. will try to work out a load management system that is in the best interest of James, the team, and the league. “The great thing about the NBA and players union is I think they have the same partnership lens of doing what’s best for the players and making sure we don’t put them in positions to suffer injuries,” he said.
“That will just be a balancing act throughout the season of kind of recognizing there was an extremely short layoff between a championship and start of the season, and kind of figuring out what’s best for LeBron, what’s best for his health, our team’s health, what’s best for the league, and kind of walking that carefully and thoughtfully throughout the year.”
Pelinka then lauded James for his “jaw-dropping” form last season, emphasizing how extremely focused the four-time NBA champion is on taking care of his body. “I think [it’s] something that maybe we haven’t seen in any sport,” he said of the Lakers All-Star’s performance in the 2019-20 campaign, his 17th in the NBA.
Lakers championship banner hanging in practice facility
With the new season fast approaching, James and his Lakers will soon return to Staples Center to raise the hard-fought 2020 championship banner and kick off their title-defending quest.
But it turns out the banner already hangs from the rafters of their practice facility at the UCLA Health Training Center, as shown in the video posted by Quinn Cook before he was waived by L.A. ahead of free agency.
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