Training camp has officially gotten underway for the Los Angeles Lakers and with the first preseason game just days away, everyone will soon see LeBron James on the floor for the first time as a Laker.
Although it was initially unclear, James will play in the preseason opener against the Denver Nuggets on Sept. 30. “We talked about it a little bit. We’ll get him out there on Sunday,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said.
However, how much time James will see during the preseason is undecided. Walton certainly wants to get James acclimated with his new teammates and develop chemistry, but with James entering his 16th season, it’s far more important to ensure he is 100 percent for what could be a long season.
“He will not play 48 (minutes on Sunday,” Walton quipped. “It will be more than one and less than 48.”
James himself isn’t even sure what to expect from his preseason. “Last year, I pretty much didn’t play the whole preseason besides one half,” James said. “I got injured on the first day, second practice, so I wasn’t able to perform in preseason.
“I have no idea. I don’t even know how many games we have. I’ll talk with Luke. I’m not going to play a bunch of minutes.”
For the record, the Lakers play six preseason games before playing the Portland Trail Blazers in their regular season opener. As James said, he won’t spend too much time on the floor, but what qualifies as a bunch of minutes is up for interpretation as well.
Walton has said that he has a lot of different lineups that he wants to look at and James obviously needs to be on the floor for some of that. This Lakers team is full of new players who haven’t played with each other much and there isn’t too much time for the team to develop chemistry.
Whatever the case may be, James and Walton will work together to figure out the best way to get him acclimated with his teammates while not overworking him.