LeBron James tweaks regimen, aims to play more preseason games

LeBron James missed 26 games last season as the Lakers failed to make the playoffs.

EL SEGUNDO, California. – LeBron James has other ambitions this season than winning the fifth NBA title and becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer. The Los Angeles Lakers star also expressed interest in how many preseason games he’s involved in:

“More than I played last year,” James said after practice on Friday.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he and his staff would determine “in the next few days” if James is playing more than the three shows he appeared in last season. That decision begins with the Lakers’ season opener against the Sacramento Kings on Monday at the Crypto.com Arena (10:30 ET, NBA TV).

“We don’t want to go crazy,” Ham said. “But we also want it to be enough where we can find a rhythm so that he can go into the regular season with a good rhythm in game mode.”

After missing a total of 26 games last season due to various ailments, James said he made some off-season changes to his regime. He occasionally played pickleball at his home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He also made unspecified changes to his diet.

“Being black and understanding how heart rate and blood pressure work in my family, living a healthy lifestyle is very important,” James said. “Not just for me. But it’s about showing that to kids and people everywhere. If that translates to the game, cool. But it’s more about life.”

Nonetheless, James viewed his availability during his 20th NBA season as the most important variable in determining whether the Lakers can recover from last season’s missed playoffs.

James expressed little concern about how he will adjust to Ham’s fast-paced system, saying: “I’ll fit in with any coach.” James sounded just as upbeat as he is fueling chemistry with Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves and Kendrick Nunn who represented the Lakers’ starting group in the first week of training camp.

“I’m just a ball player. If you put me on the floor, I can make anything happen,” James said. “I don’t really have a position.”

The Lakers have openly considered whether James will function more as a goalscorer or playmaker this season.

“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been playing this game. The day you think you can stop studying is the day you start going backwards,” James said. “I’m always trying to figure out how to get better and learn from a new coach, new teammates and life in general. Every day is a learning experience for me. I love it.”

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Mark Medina is a Senior Writer/Analyst for NBA.com. You can email him here, find his archive here, and follow him on twitter.

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