In his age-33 season, LeBron James appeared in all 82 regular season games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and, in the process, led the NBA in minutes. That is anything but typical of a player in the 15th season of his Hall of Fame career but, given the dire nature of Cleveland’s situation whenever James left the floor, there was also something admirable about the game’s best player taking on an obscene workload while leading his team back to the NBA Finals.
Long-term, though, it doesn’t seem wise to lean on James for that kind of playing time as he arrives in Los Angeles, even if the new face of the Lakers is arguably the most indestructible physical specimen in league history. With that in mind, the subject was recently broached as to how often James would be playing in his first season with the Lakers and head coach Luke Walton had a potentially insightful response when asked if a discussion had already taken place.
“We’ve talked about the idea of it and I’ll be in constant communication with him all year long,” Walton said while appearing on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles (h/t Harrison Feigen of Silver Screen and Roll). “If it’s a night off, if it’s a back-to-back, whatever it is. If it’s practice, preferably if he’s going to take something off, take a practice off to stay fresh. But we’ve got him here for four years, and we want to be competing every single year that he’s here. If we do play him less minutes or he gets a night off, that’s a great opportunity for other players, some of the young guys so it’ll be an ongoing thing, a feel out thing as the season is going as far as minutes or whether he’s going to take this game off or that game off.”
Obviously, there is nothing definitive in what Walton is saying for public consumption at this point but it does speak to the interesting nature of the situation.