With the playoffs slipping further away with every loss, the Los Angeles Lakers will scale back LeBron James’ minutes for the remainder of the season, multiple outlets reported Thursday.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the first to report on the plan, said both the Lakers’ front office and people in James’ camp have agreed to limit the superstar’s minutes to “in the range of 28-32 minutes per game.” What’s more, Haynes reported, James may sit out one side of back-to-backs, depending on how he feels.
But ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported later Thursday that “a source close to James” said that while the team is looking at a 32-minute limit, that number is more of “an advisement.” Lakers coach Luke Walton spoke with ESPN on Thursday and confirmed, “I will be monitoring his workload from here on out.”
Of the 17 games remaining on their schedule, the Lakers have three sets of back-to-back games remaining. They entered Thursday 6 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. James is averaging 35.6 minutes despite the fact he is 34 and in his 16th season.
—In other Lakers news, ESPN reported the team will not fine or discipline point guard Rajon Rondo for sitting in a courtside seat for fans, off the bench and away from his teammates, near the end of a Wednesday night loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Rondo said it is something he said he has done “eight, 10 times this year.” But after meeting with Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday to discuss the incident, Rondo told ESPN, “They notified me that it was a league rule that you can’t sit there. I wasn’t aware of it. But now I know going forward where I need to be.”
Rondo only scored four points on 2-for-7 shooting (0-for-3 on 3-pointers) but had 11 assists. The fact that he played only 16 minutes in the second half had nothing to do with his seat selection, Rondo said.
—Amir Hinton, a junior from Division II Shaw University, told ESPN he plans to enter the 2019 NBA Draft and hire an agent.
Hinton led Division II in scoring in 2018-19 with 29.4 points per game. The CIAA Player of the Year is shooting to be the first DII player drafted since 2005, when Robert Whaley of Walsh University was selected in the second round. Whaley played 23 NBA games with the Utah Jazz in the 2005-06 season.
“Some scouts have told me I am a top-three guard in this class,” Hinton told ESPN.
—Free agent Tyler Zeller will join the Atlanta Hawks on a 10-day contract Friday, ESPN reported.
Zeller, 29, was a first-round pick out of North Carolina in 2012 but never played for the Dallas Mavericks, who traded the 7-footer to the Cleveland Cavaliers. After two seasons with the Cavs, Zeller spent three seasons with the Celtics, then split a year between Milwaukee and Brooklyn.
He has 165 starts in 406 career games, averaging 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
—The New Orleans Pelicans announced that guard Jrue Holiday will be out at least seven to 10 days due to a lower abdominal strain.
A day after scoring 16 points in a 114-104 loss to Utah, Holiday underwent an MRI exam Thursday morning, and the severity of the injury was discovered, according to a news release from the Pelicans.
Holiday, 28, is averaging a career-best 21.2 points per game as well as 7.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game.
—Field Level Media