EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – LeBron James will not play in the Lakers preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday at the Chase Center he told reporters following Thursday’s practice. He plans to play at least half of the Lakers’ six preseason games.
“We’ll see,” James said. “I think every game will dictate it. I will not be playing in Saturday’s game, that’s for sure, in the Bay. But we’ll see after that.”
James, 38, missed 27 games last season due to a right foot injury. Lakers coach Darvin Ham mentioned at the Lakers’ earlier this week that “Bron is still sharp as ever.”
The reality is that James is entering his 21st season and is the oldest active NBA player. Ham and the Lakers organization are mindful that James’s health will be paramount for the Lakers to compete for a championship effectively this season.
“We put our heads together with the medical staff Mike Mancias in particular, we make sure that we come up with an effective plan,” Ham said.
“Just kind of easing into it,” added Ham. “The fact that our roster is what it is, he doesn’t have to come start the season with his cape on, so to speak.”
The Lakers’ starting lineup is all but set with four of the five starters locked in. The current starters are D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. Through the first three practices of training camp, Ham experimented with Jarred Vanderbilt and the newly acquired Taurean Prince in the starting lineup.
Rui Hachimura, one of the returning core players for the Lakers, is also in the conversation for potentially filling the final starting spot. In his second year with the Lakers, Hachimura spoke about how motivating it is to play on a team with the viability to compete for a championship.
Hachimura spent the majority of his offseason training with James and absorbing as much game as possible. He made quite an impression during last year’s postseason run where he averaged 12.2 points per game, shot 55.7% from the field, and 48.7% from three.
Los Angeles will hold one final practice on Friday at UCLA Health Training Center before Saturday’s preseason matchup against the Warriors in San Francisco. The Lakers will then travel to Las Vegas to face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday at T-Mobile Arena.