The Lakers understand this is a different LeBron James preparing to start his 17th NBA season, and plan to treat him that way.
The four-time MVP will turn 35 in December and Los Angeles will look to limit his minutes both in practice and the preseason.
James was pulled early from the team’s practice scrimmage on Sunday, a trend that is likely to continue. First-year Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters he plans to play James “not a ton” during the preseason.
“We want to be intelligent,” Vogel said. “We want to get him enough reps to get him familiar with his teammates and get everybody on the same page, some cohesiveness. But certainly going to be intelligent and not overdo it in the preseason.”
James is coming off a season filled with injuries and without a postseason, which he missed for the first time in 13 years. He posted career lows in games played (55) and minutes per game (35.2) in his first season in Los Angeles.