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LeBron James takes it easy Monday as Lakers monitor workloads of veterans

Lakers star LeBron James was busy during the team’s media day on Friday.
Lakers star LeBron James was busy during the team’s media day on Friday, but he got a free pass out of practice Monday.
(Associated Press)

LeBron James got the morning off from Lakers practice.

“Common sense,” Frank Vogel said.

And he intends to use a similar approach for all his veteran players.

“It’s just gonna be day to day. it’s not a long, laid out plan,” Vogel said. “You just continue to meet with the medical team. Sometimes I’ll go to the medical team and say, ‘Hey, you know what? it’s day three. We’ve had three practices in the last two days. It’s gonna be a lot for these guys, with sore muscles. Let’s be smart.’ ”

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The Lakers had two practices on Saturday and one on Sunday. James did all of Saturday’s practices and most of Sunday’s. But Vogel pulled him late in the scrimmage portion of Sunday’s practice to give him some rest, he said. The coach also plans to conserve James’ minutes during the preseason.

Jared Dudley was also held out of Monday’s practice and has been managing knee soreness, which Vogel described as “normal training camp stuff.”

The Lakers have six players who are older than 30: James, Dudley, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard. Vogel said he plans to watch all their usage.

Howard’s physicality

Lakers center Dwight Howard speaks to reporters during the team’s media day on Friday.
Lakers center Dwight Howard speaks to reporters during the team’s media day on Friday.
(Getty Images)

Howard has set a tone physically in their practices and it’s caught Vogel’s attention.

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“You gotta be physical every single possession so these guys know that I’m gonna be behind them, they can trust me back there, especially on defense,” Howard said. “And then on offense, just making sure that they see that I screen hard, that I roll hard to the basket. Just do all the little things. It’s all about building trust and chemistry, and that’s how you do it.”

Howard is on a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers and is competing for a starting role with McGee. Each player has had time with James and Anthony Davis and that will likely continue until Vogel chooses a starter.

“I thought Dwight and JaVale, they’ve been very good if not great since practices have started,” James said. “I love what they’re able to do, so those are two guys that stood out.”

Spacing for a shooter

For years the Lakers have needed shooters and during this offseason they finally got some.

Among the players expected to help the Lakers in that department is Green, who made 46.5% of his shots last year, including 45.5% of his three-point attempts.

Playing with James and Davis can be a boon for players like Green, providing space to help them work.

“I saw some of it [Saturday],” said Green, who played on the first team with James and Davis in the Lakers’ first practice. “It was pretty great. I think [Sunday], it was different. We switched up the teams. I think we had different groups. I like playing with [ Rondo]. He’s been awesome and amazing with finding guys too and attacking and creating passes. So, so many threats. I think everybody is excited about what we can do.”

Conversely, Green’s shooting ability should create space for his teammates. He believes he can regardless of what his role is.

“My job is to space the floor,” Green said. “There are things that I just go out there and do. It’s my job and my job is not to figure out the roster. It’s tough. Our coach, he has a lot on his hands this year with so many talented players to figure out what lineups are what, who is going to start, who is going to play what minutes. But that’s a good problem to have.”


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