James ‘not sitting’ games as Lakers hopes fade
By Agence France-Presse
LeBron James has ruled out scaling back his playing time for the remainder of the season in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest defeat which has dealt another blow to their playoff hopes.
James faces missing the postseason for the first time since 2005 with the Lakers mired in a form slump which has seen them lose nine of their last 12 games.
The Lakers are now in 10th place in the Western Conference, six wins behind the San Antonio Spurs with only 18 games remaining, leaving them with little prospect of squeezing into the playoffs.
The bleak scenario has prompted some to question whether the Lakers would be better served by declaring the season a bust, and preserving James’ body for the challenges of the 2019-2020 campaign.
James however told ESPN that he had no intention of reducing his minutes on court following Monday’s 113-105 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Unless I’m hurt, I’m not sitting games,” said James, adding that any such move to limit his playing time would involve “a lot of convincing” on the part of the Lakers front office.
James, 34, said there had been no discussion about his playing a reduced role but admitted it might be a possibility in future.
“That conversation hasn’t occurred, but I’m sure it can happen soon,” James told ESPN.
“You kind of look at the rest of the games, and look at the percentages of what’s going on there in the future, and see what makes more sense for not only me but the team itself as well,” added James, who suffered the longest injury layoff of his career earlier this season when a groin strain sidelined him for nearly six weeks.
James, who joined the Lakers last year in a blockbuster move as the franchise attempts to reverse years of decline, said he would remain motivated for the rest of the season even if the team’s chances of reaching the playoffs for the first time in six years had all but evaporated.
“For me personally, I can only speak for myself,” he said.
“Continue to be a professional, and be as great as you can be every single night, no matter the circumstances. ‘Cause someone is always watching.”