4:45 PM ET
LOS ANGELES — Ready or not, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers will be playing preseason games in less than a month. That means L.A.’s soon-to-be 36-year-old superstar, LeBron James, will be gearing up for his 18th season when it seems like his 17th season just ended, with a title in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, believes the rapid turnaround will create a challenge for a veteran like James that the entire organization has to manage.
“That’ll just be a balancing act throughout the season,” Pelinka said on a videoconference call with reporters Thursday. “Recognizing that there was an extremely short layoff between championship and the start of the season and kind of figuring out what’s best for LeBron, what’s best for his health, the team’s health, what’s best for the league and kind of walking that carefully and thoughtfully throughout the year.”
James has consistently rejected the use of load management, telling ESPN last season, “If I’m hurt, I don’t play. … If not, I’m playing.” He posted a video to his Instagram account this