LeBron James has said he only plans to play in half of the Lakers’ six preseason games, and he will sit out of his second so far when the team hosts the Sacramento Kings in Anaheim on Wednesday.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham made the announcement at practice on Tuesday:
Darvin Ham says LeBron James won't be available for tomorrow's preseason game against the Sacramento Kings.— Khobi Price (@khobi_price) October 10, 2023
LeBron James will not play in tomorrow’s pre-season game against Sacramento, Lakers Coach Darvin Ham said.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) October 10, 2023
The result obviously doesn’t matter in this one, but James sitting out will potentially leave the Lakers missing quite a bit of forward depth on Wednesday, as Cam Reddish (ankle) and Jarred Vanderbilt (heel) both sat out of Monday’s win against the Nets. The Lakers have not been releasing injury reports for the preseason — so the status of those two for the matchup against the Kings is still unknown — but James joining them on the bench would leave Rui Hachimura and Taurean Prince as the only wings expected to be in the regular rotation available to play. That might mean more minutes for second-round pick Maxwell Lewis or two-way player Alex Fudge, or potentially even Max Christie getting some minutes at the 3.
It’s also unknown which other two of the Lakers’ three remaining preseason games that James will play in. He’ll get his next opportunity on Friday, Oct. 13 against the Warriors, which could allow him to rest on Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks and then play in the final game of the preseason against the Phoenix Suns in Palm Desert on Thursday, Oct. 19.
Either way, we won’t see James when the Lakers host the Kings in Anaheim. That game will tip off on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., and be televised locally on Spectrum SportsNet and nationally on NBA TV.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.