LeBron James is not keen on the idea of shutting down the rest of his season, despite the Los Angeles Lakers' hopes of reaching the playoffs looking increasingly remote.
The Lakers lost 113-105 to its cross-city rival Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. A third straight defeat left its record at 30-34.
James' team is 10th in the Western Conference, 5.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the eighth and final playoff spot, but the 34-year-old – who missed 18 games with a groin injury earlier this season, the longest absence of his career - insisted his instinct is not to bring 2018-19 to an early end.
"That would take a lot of convincing from Luke [Walton, Lakers head coach] on up," James told reporters.
"Unless I'm hurt, I'm not sitting games. That conversation hasn't occurred, but I'm sure it can happen soon. For me personally, I can [only] speak for myself, [the motivation is] continue to be a professional, and be as great as you can be every single night, no matter the circumstances, 'cause someone is always watching.
"You keep playing to the end and see what happens. I've been talking about it for a while now. Everyone has been talking about the postseason, [but] we should be worried about each and every game and how we can continue to get better with our process and get better with our team."
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Since a dramatic overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 18, the Lakers are on a shocking 5-13 run, prompting the suggestions the team should preserve the health of James and look to improve its draft position ahead of next season.
While James suggested the likes of president Magic Johnson have a tough pitch on their hands if they want to shut him down for the rest of the year, the three-time NBA champion was more open to the idea of managing his minutes if the playoffs become mathematically out of reach.
"You kind of look at the rest of the games, and look at the percentages of what's going on there in the future, and see what makes more sense for not only me but the team itself as well," added James, who had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a 42-minute outing against the Clippers.
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