Fans who spent the last few days wondering whether or not LeBron James would make his Los Angeles Lakers debut in the team’s first preseason game on Sunday finally have their answer: He will, though exactly how long he’ll spend on the court remains (and almost definitely will remain) a mystery.
“We talked about it a little bit today, so we’ll get him out there on Sunday,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton told reporters after practice Thursday afternoon. “How much he plays will be determined later, but he’ll get out there on Sunday.”
In what should come as no surprise whatsoever, we got a pretty non-specific range from Walton.
”He will not play 48 (minutes). It will be more than one, and less than 48,” Walton said.
It’s worth noting that Walton spoke to the media after James did, and thus LeBron didn’t talk about how much or little he might play.
As was reported earlier, James said he was going to speak with Walton about the role he’ll play over the course of preseason. For everyone in attendance, as much as they’d like to see James participate as if the game in question held actual stakes, merely seeing him on the court with his new teammates in the Lakers uniform for a few minutes should suffice as the appetizer to prep everyone for the next three-plus years.
As great as it might sound to get reps with his teammates against NBA competition, James can do just that in practice thanks to how deep this roster is. Let’s also not fool ourselves to believe that preseason basketball necessarily provides the level of competition necessary to learn anything from.
Learning about what will be James’ Lakers “debut” is great. That first time he’s introduced will be electric. Even then, I’m not sure it’ll feel completely real, but for now it’ll certainly suffice.