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Luke Walton expects LeBron James to be available Friday vs. Nets

LeBron James sat out against Milwaukee, but Luke Walton seems to think a few days off were enough to get him ready when the Lakers play Brooklyn at home Friday.

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers face off against Magic Johnson’s greatest failure as an NBA executive D’Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night, they will probably do so with the aid of LeBron James, who sat their last game in Milwaukee against the Bucks.

Luke Walton was asked about James’ availability after the 16-year veteran was a partial participant in practice (via Lakers.com):

“We’ll see how (James) feels tomorrow, but I think he’ll go tomorrow.”

Shortly after practice, several players’ availabilities were announced ahead of Friday’s home game against arguably the most painful Lakers loss in recent memory Russell and the rest of a Nets team still vying for a spot in the postseason.

With James available and Scott Machado recently added to the roster on a 10-day contract, it will be interesting to see how Walton handles the point guard rotation. Alex Caruso has thoroughly outplayed Rajon Rondo, but Rondo has been playing more minutes-per-game. One would think that Caruso could eat up the vast majority of Rondo’s minutes, followed by Machado in terms of minutes with a point guard on the court and then James operating as a lead ball-handler whenever he’s out there.

After Friday, the Lakers will have only 10 games left of what has been an obviously frustrating and disappointing season. Depending on how things go, the Lakers could also be officially eliminated from postseason contention Friday night. This could very well be one of the last opportunities to see James at Staples Center until next season, given his injury concerns and the lack of any real stakes whenever the Lakers will be stepping onto the court.

Still, there’s plenty of reason to watch Friday night, as (unless James has something to say about it) the Lakers could potentially have the final nail in this season’s coffin hammered home by the guy Magic once stupidly considered merely cap space fodder the former Lakers second overall pick.

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