On Saturday night, LeBron James missed his first game of the season in the Cavs’ loss to the Heat. It was a decision made by head coach David Blatt, and it wasn’t as spontaneous as it seemed — apparently, the Cavaliers have identified spots in their schedule where James can sit out, even if he doesn’t love the idea of it.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Joe Vardon:
It’s possible that had the Cavs’ game against the Pelicans gone differently – like, no overtime, no five-alarm-fire effort by James in the fourth quarter – he might’ve played against the Heat.
James’ is indeed healthy, a source said, and “that’s why he wasn’t thrilled with the concept” of sitting out.
But James ultimately obliged because he knows he’s going on 31 and he’s hoping to make a sixth consecutive Finals appearance. He missed a career-high 13 games last season, and was fresh enough to dominate the playoffs as the Cavs got as far as up 2-1 over the Warriors in the Finals without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
James never wants to sit out, but it’s the right thing to do for his long-term health. The Cavs are winning without Kyrie Irving. The only thing that matters is getting them to the playoffs healthy, and if that means James can’t play all 82 games of the regular season, as he’s said he wants to, then he’ll have to live with that.