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Even with the playoff hopes of the Los Angeles Lakers on life support, LeBron James is not willing to pull the plug on his 2018-19 season.
Not yet, anyway.
James, 34, in the home stretch of his 16th NBA season, told reporters in Los Angeles on Tuesday he is not ready to shut it down for himself.
“That would take a lot of convincing from Luke [Walton] on up,” James said, according to ESPN, referring to the Lakers coach as well as general manager Rob Pelinka, president Magic Johnson and governor Jeanie Buss, most likely. “Unless I’m hurt, I’m not sitting games.”
James said there has been no conservation between him and the Lakers’ braintrust about him taking the remainder of the season off. Los Angeles (30-34) trails the eighth-place San Antonio Spurs (36-29) by 5.5 games for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with the Spurs also holding the tiebreaker on the Lakers.
“That conversation hasn’t occurred, but I’m sure it can happen soon,” James said.
The four-time league Most Valuable Player and three-time NBA champion has missed 18 of the Lakers’ 64 games this season because of a tear in his left groin. Since he’s returned to action, James has played 40 or more minutes in the Lakers’ last eight games.
James conceded gauging his minutes played and perhaps taking games off could be around the corner, especially should the Lakers continue their fade down the stretch.
“You kind of look at the rest of the games, and look at the percentages of what’s going on there in the future, and see what makes more sense for not only me but the team itself as well,” he said.
James was asked about possible motivation for him and his teammates as their hopes of reaching the postseason for the first time in six years careen toward extinction.
“For me, personally, I can [only] speak for myself,” he said. “Continue to be a professional, and be as great as you can be every single night, no matter the circumstances.
“‘Cause someone is always watching.”