LeBron James‘ first season in Lakers purple and gold did not go to plan, as he will miss the postseason for the first time in 2005. Earlier this week, the team announced James would be shut down for the rest of the year.
“After consulting with our team doctors and medical staff, we have decided to hold LeBron out of games for the remainder of the season,” the team said in a statement released by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka.“This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.” (Twitter link)
Head coach Luke Walton expanded on the team’s decision shut down its superstar. Despite James’ desire to play and compete, the team wanted the 34-year-old to rest up and enjoy a healthy offseason. James missed over a month due to a serious groin injury earlier in the season, which limited him to just 55 games this season.
“He wants to play,” Walton told reporters. “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.'”
James still posted solid numbers, averaging 27.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 8.3 APG for Los Angeles. Given the Lakers’ reported interest in pairing LeBron with another superstar this summer, the team wants him healthy if that happens.