Lakers uncertain how many preseason games LeBron James will play

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EL SEGUNDO, CA - SEPTEMBER 26, 2022: LeBron James is interviewed during Lakers Media Day.

Lakers star LeBron James, shown during media day, says he’ll appear in more preseason games this fall than last year. It’s unclear how many, though. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A decision on how many preseason games LeBron James will play has yet to be decided.

James was asked after practice Friday how many preseason games he wants to participate in.

“More than I played last year,” James said. “How many did I play last year? More than I played last year.”

Last season, James played in three of the Lakers’ six preseason games.

With a new coach in Darvin Ham, a new system and just six players returning from last season’s team, the plan for James playing preseason games is being worked out.

The Lakers’ preseason opener is Monday night against the Sacramento Kings at Arena.

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Ham said he and James haven’t had a conversation about how much the superstar will play in the preseason.

“My staff and I, we’ll get to that, man,” Ham said. “We don’t want to go crazy, but we also want to have it be enough where we can establish a rhythm, can be in game mode with a good rhythm going into the regular season.”

Ham said that they will “figure all of that out” in the coming days.

“Obviously we have those type of things on our board and on our laundry list of things to get done,” Ham said. “But our focus has totally been on trying to establish a style of play on both sides of the ball, establish our principles and make sure we’re executing the basic foundation of who we are and what our identity will be. But definitely my coaching staff and I, we have had light discussions about what that’s going to look like, how many preseason games, how many minutes.”

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James, 37, is beginning his 20th NBA season. He played in 56 of 82 games last season with the majority of games missed because of a left ankle injury.

Still, James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists and shot 52.4% from the field.

He’s healthy now and going full bore in training camp.

“It’s just the next one for me,” James said. “It’s been fun getting back on the floor, getting back with the unit and just working our habits. Trying to get better every day. Stack your days and keep on stacking them and go from there.”

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Ham coy about starters

After three days of training camp, Ham was asked if he has decided on his starting five.

“Not yet,” he said, “but we’ll get there.”

Ham did reveal that guard Kendrick Nunn and center Damian Jones have spent some time playing with starters James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbook.

“It’s been good,” Ham said. “It’s been really, really good.”

Nunn missed all of last season because of a bruised right knee bone.

Now healthy, Nunn has shown signs of being the dynamic player the Lakers signed to a two-year deal last year, leading Ham to say his 6-2 guard has looked “phenomenal” in camp.

“He had a really, really good day today. He’s been great. I mean, been great,” Ham said. “Shooting the ball well, making the right reads, defending. Really had a good defensive day as well as an offensive day today. So, he’s doing really, really well.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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