Coach Luke Walton said James wanted to finish out the year before medical staff convinced him to sit.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
April 01, 2019

LeBron James wasn't ready to take a seat for the rest of the Lakers' season.

According to coach Luke Walton, James wanted to finish out the remainder of the season but was convinced by Los Angeles to shut it down. The Lakers announced last week that James would not play again this year.

"He wants to play," Walton said on Sunday, according to ESPN. "My understanding from the medical staff, they finally said, 'Look, it's just not worth it anymore. Let's make sure you have a healthy summer.' So that's the decision that was made, and we'll move forward without him on the floor for the final six."

James suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day that kept him out until Jan. 31. The Lakers went 6–11 in his absence. He ended up playing 55 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. Los Angeles was officially eliminated from the playoffs on March 21 after suffering a 111–106 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets and will now miss the playoffs for their sixth consecutive season, their longest postseason drought in franchise history.

Walton said the decision to sit James did not happen sooner due to the forward's desire to compete.

"Even though it's over, he wants to be out there playing with his guys," Walton said. "Eventually, as that time goes on and on, it's easier to tell someone like that, 'Let's take care of your health right now.' So that's kind of how the decision came."

Walton added that James will be spending time in the weight room during the final week and a half of season play when he's not on the court.

James was with the team in New Orleans and will once again be present when the Lakers play the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. 

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