Lakers had to convince LeBron to sit out season – Walton

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James had to be persuaded to sit out the remainder of the NBA season, according to head coach Luke Walton.

The Lakers shut down James, 34, for the season on Saturday, with Los Angeles already eliminated from the playoff race.

James – the four-time MVP and three-time champion – suffered a groin injury on Christmas Day and missed 17 games as a result.

Walton, whose future is uncertain, said the Lakers had to convince James to rest.

"He wants to play," Walton said. "My understanding from the medical staff, they finally said, 'Look, it's just not worth it anymore. Let's make sure you have a healthy summer.' 

"So that's the decision that was made, and we'll move forward without him on the floor for the final six."​

Walton added: "Well, I think that goes back to him wanting to compete. Even though it's over, he wants to be out there playing with his guys.

"Eventually, as that time goes on and on, it's easier to tell someone like that, 'Let's take care of your health right now.' So that's kind of how the decision came."

James finished his first season in Los Angeles averaging 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in 55 games. He is tied for fifth in the NBA in points per game and third in assists.

The Lakers struggled with James off the court and will miss the playoffs for a franchise-record sixth successive year.

It snapped James' personal postseason streak of 13 consecutive appearances and eight straight NBA Finals.

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