There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that we have an update on LeBron James a couple of hours before his scheduled re-evaluation with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The bad news is that it’s not good news.
James’ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, told Dave McMenamin of ESPN that James will not travel with the Lakers on their upcoming road trip, which starts on Saturday in Oklahoma City and concludes on Sunday in Houston.
Following that short, two-game road trip, the Lakers will host the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center for their second matchup of the season. Four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is expected to be available for that game.
While there’s no guarantee James will also be available, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make his return on Monday for a few reasons. The first, and most obvious, is his history with the Warriors.
For the first time this season, the Warriors will roll out their star-studded starting five against the Lakers. James could always wait around for their next meeting on Feb. 2, but it’s hard to imagine he’s going to pass on an opportunity to get a firsthand look at his biggest competition in the Western Conference.
The game will also be the headliner for the slate of games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which over the years has become one of the biggest nights in basketball. If there were any day for James to make his triumphant return, it would be Monday.
Until then, the Lakers will have to do everything in their power to make sure James won’t have too much ground to make up upon his return. Following their win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, they’re now 4-7 without James.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets are tough teams to beat even with James, so the Lakers will have to be nearly perfect to steal a pair of wins on the road without James. Let’s hope they can rise to the occasion.