After talking about cutting LeBron James minutes a few times in recent weeks, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue says LeBron James minutes won’t be cut before the playoffs.
“He don’t want the taper,” Lue said Wednesday at the Cavs’ practice, per The Athletic. “It’s crazy because earlier in the season he said, ‘I wanted to play this amount of minutes,’ now he’s saying ‘I need to get in playoff shape so I need to continue to keep playing the same amount of minutes.’ We’ll see how it goes.
James, for what it’s worth, seems okay with it.
“I feel great,” he said, per The Athletic. “I feel really good, actually.”
Currently, James is second in the league at 37.5 minutes per game - the most he played since the 2013-14 season with the Miami Heat. He, though, is only 12th in the overall minutes played.
For the Cavs, this is a bit of a surprise. The plan all along seemed to be that James would get some rest before the playoffs, especially considering the amount of minutes LeBron has played to this point in his career.
With the Cavs struggling right now, however, maybe LeBron needs to play. The team is better when he’s on the floor and injuries have kept the Cavs from really playing together consistently. Additionally, if Cleveland does value keeping the No. 1 seed, playing LeBron will help.
But it is possible that the Cavs could rest LeBron and other keys players like Kyrie Irving before the end of the regular season. The team does still have two back-to-backs left, including tomorrow vs. Philadelphia.