As was previously hinted at, LeBron James and Anthony Davis will not play when the Los Angeles Lakers open up the preseason against the LA Clippers on Friday, head coach Frank Vogel confirmed after the team’s training camp practice on Thursday. Vogel also said that some of the Lakers’ new players may miss the game, but he’s not certain of who yet, as they’re still evaluating.
Newcomer Alfonzo McKinnie — who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers — will also not play, as he continues to be out with what Vogel called an “excused absence.” He has not participated in training camp yet.
With James and Davis out, expect plenty of minutes for second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker to get an opportunity to handle the ball and show what he’s worked on over the short offseason as he makes a case for the significant role that Vogel believes is possible this season.
Beyond Horton-Tucker, it’s not clear which of the Lakers’ cadre of returning veterans and free agency and trade additions will suit up for the Lakers on Friday, but it sounds like we definitely shouldn’t expect an A+ basketball game against the Clippers, which is fairly understandable given the short turnaround and other circumstances facing the team. It’s unknown how much Davis, James and others will play moving forward, but it certainly seems like most of the emphasis for the Lakers these next few weeks will just be on getting through the preseason healthy as they prepare to defend their title, so plan your viewing habits accordingly.
The Lakers and Clippers will tip off the preseason on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. PT. The game will be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet.