OKC Thunder: Will LeBron James comments impact NBA decisions?

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles upcourt during the first half of a game against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles upcourt during the first half of a game against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

On the Road Trippin podcast, LeBron James touched on what the OKC Thunder and all players are dealing with in terms of maintaining game shape. But will his comments affect league decisions?

LeBron James like all the OKC Thunder players and his peers are currently at home practicing self-distancing. With all the extra time on his hands, the league’s top player is active on social media. That afforded James time to appear on former teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye and host Allie Clifton’s Road Trippin podcast.

The group addressed the suspension and James comments, particularly with regard to staying in shape and what the league should do upon return, are certain to have those in the league office paying attention.

One surprising comment from James was he felt it is a disadvantage for him to be off so long. At 35 most fans and analysts would presume this hiatus would be helpful. Particularly because the star has played full-out on both ends of the court this season whereas he tended to amp up that effort down the stretch into the playoffs when in Cleveland.

"“My body was like, ‘Hey, man, what the hell is going on? It’s March 13. You’re getting ready for the playoffs. Why are you shutting down?’”"

Unlike many players, James has a full court and gym at his house where he’s able to get up shots and keep his physical condition high.

If the player who is cited as the best in the business and has a fully equipped gym and court at his home feels he won’t be ready then what does that mean for the plethora of his peers who aren’t equipped like James?

Brian Windhorst commented on ESPN’s Get Up program highlighted the fact the league will need time to get everyone back in game shape once the suspension is lifted. Windhorst noted James’ teammate Alex Caruso is skipping rope and bouncing a basketball in his garage to stay in shape.

Consider the OKC Thunder players – many of whom live in condo’s and don’t have access to a gym or even an outside hoop to get up shots. And there is a good portion of the league’s players who live in cold weather. If for example Giannis Antetokounmpo stayed in Milwaukee and doesn’t have a gym in his house he’ll be limited to whatever exercise he can accomplish inside.

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Several teams have sent out equipment to their players like weights, athletic bands and in some cases equipment like treadmills or bikes.  Still, that’s a far cry from having access to an actual basketball court if for only to get up shots.

The other contentious issue with LeBron was how the league will deal with the rest of the schedule upon return. James felt teams would need a training camp of up to two weeks followed by five to ten games prior to the playoffs.

He stated everyone who thinks the added rest for the 35-year-old is actually the opposite. James said with six months of consistent conditioning your body is at a specific place and the media mindset stating this current narrative of rest being beneficial is wrong.

The superstar is not keen to play games without fans and is totally against being quarantined with his team (and others) and playing all the games in a central location.

Whether he wants it or not LeBron is the voice of the league so it will be interesting whether his comments carry any weight with the powers that be.

As always, stay safe and healthy.

Next. NBA 2020 Mock Draft 1.0 – Options abound for Thunder. dark

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