LeBron James not playing in 2019 World Cup, might join Team USA for 2020 Olympics

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LeBron James will have a far longer offseason than usual. With the Lakers already eliminated from the playoff race, he’ll miss the NBA Finals for the first time in nine years and miss the postseason for the first time in 14 years. He has already shut it down.

But he won’t spend that extra time playing in the 2019 World Cup.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

The “Space Jam 2” production schedule was based on the knowledge that, regardless of when the Lakers’ season ended, LeBron would not play for Team USA.

On the other hand, LeBron has not ruled out a return to Team USA for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

“Yeah, that’s a possibility,” LeBron said of Tokyo 2020. “It depends on how I feel. I love the Olympics.”

LeBron skipped the 2016 Olympics and said he sometimes regretted that. But he’ll also be 35 in 2020. As this season showed, his body might not be able to withstand as large a load as before. The time for LeBron to compete internationally could be passing.

With the 2019 World Cup in China, a country ripe with marketing opportunities, expect many stars to play. James Harden is eager.

But LeBron obviously has another opportunity for fame with “Space Jam 2.” Filming that should also allow better opportunity to get fully healthy than playing for Team USA would.

The Lakers need him rested and recovered going into next season.