Lakers Rumors: L.A. Still Plans To Limit LeBron James’ Minutes Once Team Is Fully Healthy
LeBron James, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the season, head coach Darvin Ham and the Los Angeles Lakers staff worked with LeBron James to develop a plan to limit his minutes. The goal was to preserve LeBron throughout the season so that he could make it to the postseason with plenty of gas left in his tank.

With the depth the Lakers had acquired, it felt like a real possibility. But since Opening Night, James’ minutes have risen right back to normal. The Lakers star currently sits at 34.4 minutes per game, second on the team to Anthony Davis, but it hasn’t affected him on the court at all as LeBron continues to defy expectations and perform like one of the best basketball players on earth.

Despite how this early season has turned out, however, the Lakers still hope to lower LeBron’s minutes once their roster gets healthy, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Still, all parties involved aspire to limit James’ minutes when the team can get fully healthy, sources told ESPN. James has already missed one game in the early going because of a left calf injury, and the long-term goal is to get him to the finish line with the wheels still intact.

Jarred Vanderbilt still has yet to play this season while Rui Hachimura, Jaxson Hayes and Taurean Prince have sat out a couple games as well, putting a dent in the Lakers’ depth. Additionally, losing Gabe Vincent has also cost the Lakers another playmaker who could potentially create while LeBron takes a breather.

James is already dealing with a shin issue that caused him to sit out one game, but Ham isn’t too concerned with that at the moment.

“With anything, I think once the season starts, no one is really 100% healthy,” the Lakers coach said. “Everyone deals with something, be it minor or major. It’s just another thing where he’s getting things handled and treated every day and sticking to his routine. If we need to pay a little bit more attention to a particular area then we’ll do that. But he’s been managing it well.”

The Lakers are inching closer to getting healthy as both Vanderbilt and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino have begun ramping up towards a potential return. If the Lakers can get everyone back and figure out how to thrive in those non-LeBron minutes, they should be able to accomplish that goal of keeping his minutes in check.

LeBron James on recent play: “Sometimes you need to remind folks”

So far James’ minutes have led to some truly outstanding performances, including a season-high 37 points in the Lakers’ recent win over the Houston Rockets. It was LeBron’s 109th 30-point game with the franchise and he made sure to take a little shot at those who questioned why he chose to come to L.A. in the first place.

“Because sometimes you need to remind folks,” LeBron said after the win. “The graphic said it was my 108th 30-point game with the Lakers so sometimes you need to remind people.”

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