LeBron James seemingly committed to his 21st NBA season after threatening retirement post-conference finals loss vs. Nuggets. The 38-year-old is set to don the purple and gold for at least one more season. That is crucial for the Lakers’ championship dreams, as with James, they stand a better chance.
Having said that, the Lakers would likely remain cautious with LeBron James’ workload. The veteran will turn 39 in December and is already suffering from underlying injury issues. James cannot avoid the Father time, and thus, the purple and gold have devised a plan to manage the former’s workload into the 2023-24 NBA season.
LeBron James To Play Fewer Minutes Next Season, Claims NBA Insider!
Last season, LeBron James played through a foot tendon injury to keep the Los Angeles Lakers’ playoff campaign afloat. While he avoided the worst-case scenario, LA must remain cautious to prevent a relapse. In the 2022-23 NBA season, LeBron averaged 35.5 minutes per game while scoring 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.6 blocks per matchup. Naturally, the heavy workload took a toll as the 38-year-old suffered from multiple injury issues. Thus, this year, the LA front office will opt for a more cautious approach. As per Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Rob Pelinka and Darvin Ham are devising a plan to reduce James’ minutes per game. “Ham said the franchise is aiming to be more efficient with James ‘game-to-game minutes, the big picture, month-to-month, different sections in the calendar,” added Buha.
This year, more than ever, Lakers stand a chance to offer a backseat to LeBron James. They have worked towards extending the depth of the roster. Moreover, Anthony Davis has been groomed since last season to take up the leadership role. As far as the offense is concerned, LA has set high expectations from young sensation Austin Reaves. The point guard was efficient last season and was seen handling the ball well during crucial moments. In just two months of game time, Reaves averaged 16.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.2 blocks per game. Reaves could also find support in Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell. These guys collectively could shed a heavy load off LeBron James’ back. Overall, one can expect the NBA veteran to have a reduced role next season as LA tries to optimize his limited presence.
Anthony Davis Urged To Take Up Leadership Role By Lakers!
Meanwhile, the Lakers are likely to undergo a leadership change next season. In a recent pre-season press conference, Rob Pelinka and Darvin Ham confirmed wanting to appoint Davis as the future leader of the franchise. The GM said that when AD came for contract extension talks, they asked him to embrace the leadership role and work on being the most hardworking player on the roster.
Anthony Davis apparently respected the request and worked on his health during the off-season. His determination and commitment left the Lakers front office in awe as they agreed on a three-year, $168 million expensive extension contract with Davis. Thus, LeBron James is expected to pass on the baton to AD next season.