LeBron James, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, is likely to see limited playing time this season with the focus on next year’s playoffs, according to Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue.
With James set to turn 32 this December, the Cavaliers are hoping to keep his batteries recharged for the postseason ahead of a possible NBA finals rubber match against Golden State Warriors.
Lue was speaking to reporters at the Quickens Loans Arena ahead of Cleveland’s training camp.
“I’ve looked at the (regular season) schedule. Just seeing what makes sense and what’s smart when playing four-in-five type of nights.
“Can’t run our guys into the ground. We have to be smart, understand we have to take care of our bodies and take care of our key guys. Make sure that when we get to the playoffs we’re ready to go,” said the coach of the reigning NBA champions.
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LeBron James: Playoffs the priority
Last season, James clocked a career-low 35.6 minutes per game but averaged 39.1 minutes in the postseason.
In fact, James’ 39.1 minutes during the playoffs was also the lowest since Miami Heat’s 2014 campaign.
With Kyrie Irving emerging as Cleveland’s go-to option on offense, James’ workload has seen a significant downturn. During his Heat years, James was still the No.1 scoring option, especially with Dwyane Wade battling injuries.
And heading into the 2016-17 season, James, himself has admitted that managing his workload is important.
“I try to make myself available for my teammates every night, and I think I’ve had some pretty good coaches over the last few years, with Erik Spoelstra my last couple years there (in Miami) and now Coach Lue has done a great job of just trying to help me take care of my body,” said the four-time MVP.
Earlier this year, James became the first player in the modern era to play six consecutive NBA finals.
“(My coaches) also know I’ve put a lot of miles on my body over the last six years from going to the Finals every single year, so, health and longevity for our team is very important,” added James.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers begin their preseason against the Orlando Magic on Oct. 5. It will be a home game.