LeBron James will be watching the NBA playoffs, instead of playing in them, for the first time since 2005.
James admits the Lakers’ disappointing season is challenging, but that he knew what he was getting himself into when he relocated to Los Angeles last summer.
LeBron’s former teammates say the extra rest (and motivation) will be good for him in the long run.
Per The AP:
“It’s challenging,” James said of the current state of the Lakers. “But I kind of knew what I was getting myself into.”
Thing is, he doesn’t possibly know what comes next. No one does. The offseason will see roster change, top free agents to play alongside James will be pursued hard by Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson, and it will not be a surprise if the Lakers decide Luke Walton isn’t the right coach anymore.
“Rest is going to help,” said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, one of James’ closest friends. “I think the biggest thing with him is probably mental, the mental break from it. Physically, obviously, he’s getting older but he’s still very good at this game. Look at his numbers. They’re still very good. But he’s been going at it for a long time, so to get away from it and kind of look at it from a different lens, it’ll definitely help.”
He’ll turn 35 in December. Next season is his 17th in the NBA. Does he have the ability to engineer the sort of turnaround that LA needs?
“Just having that break, being able to reassess and come back really, really highly motivated, I think it’s going to be big for him,” [Kevin] Love said. “If you get Bron highly motivated, anything can happen.”