Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Some NBA players struggled even gaining access to a basketball hoop during the league’s three-month hiatus.
As such, the reopening of team practice facilities was a crucial step in the ability for players to ramp up basketball activities in anticipation of a return to the hardwood.
Players have had the opportunity to work out at their respective facilities, though there are limitations put in place by the NBA so as to ensure a safer environment. This includes allowing no more than four players in the facility at the same time.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported Tuesday the NBA, starting June 23, will prohibit the use of private courts “without prior NBA approval.” McMenamin also said a number of Lakers players “spent the majority of their hiatus playing on private courts rather than at the facility…”
Until then, however, LeBron is getting his runs in with some familiar faces.
New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick said during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast he has heard through the grapevine members of the Lakers are working out together at a house in Bel-Air. Redick said he has worked out there before, and added the house has a full court plus weights and even a steam room.
Naturally, all of this is hearsay. At the same time, the images of James and Simmons working out appeared to show a full weight training facility and then some. Player trainer Chris Johnson, who works directly with Simmons, has also posted a host of videos showcasing Lakers players in recent days.
It certainly seems some Lakers players have been capitalizing on the amenities available to them. At the same time, it is hard to blame LeBron and Co.
James was playing at an MVP level prior to the suspension of play in March, and the Lakers sat comfortably atop the Western Conference standings.
LeBron was averaging 25.7 points and 7.9 rebounds while leading the NBA with 10.6 assists per game. He had been particularly dominant after the All-Star break, averaging 30.0 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.2 rebounds while recording a 64.9 true shooting percentage, per Basketball Reference.
The Lakers had also earned a pair of marquee wins against the top dogs in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, as well as the crosstown rival Clippers. They looked like one of the most dangerous teams down the stretch before the coronavirus pandemic interceded.
“The King” likely understands this year presents one of his best opportunities to capture a fourth title, and the private workouts may be his way of accounting for more togetherness and continuity.
But it will not be long before even LeBron must answer to league officials.