The Los Angeles Lakers announced Saturday that LeBron James will sit out the rest of the remaining six games of their season in order to avoid risk aggravating his groin injury that has not fully healed since he strained it in December 2018. The three-time NBA champion was keen to continue but agreed to listen to the coaching staff and the medical team.

The Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs in March after a poor run that saw them win just five of their 16 games during the month of which four wins came after they were eliminated by the Brooklyn Nets on March 22. It is the first time since the 2004-05 campaign that James is missing the playoffs and his run of eight straight NBA Finals also comes to an end.

“Of course, I would love to still play, but I’ve always listened to the ones I trust, no matter if I always agreed with them or not,” James said, as quoted on Sporting News. “They’re looking out for my best interest, and that’s the way it is.”

The 15-time All-Star now has two extra months to prepare for the 2019-20 campaign something that he has not had in over a decade. James revealed he has a set way of preparing for the new season, but this early elimination has brought about a change.

The 34-year-old admits that a change in strategy will be required as to how he modifies his training going into the following campaign. James will be keen to get over any injury struggles and ensure he remains fit for the entire season unlike this year when he missed 17 straight games that almost certainly cost the Lakers a chance to make the playoffs.

“I like being uncomfortable in the offseason,” he added. “I like being counted out. It motivates me. I’ve had basically the same offseason training regimen the last eight years. I knew how long I wanted to rest for the season on a short timeline.”

“I’m figuring out now how to get as much as I can out of two months of extra time for training. It requires a totally different strategy. We’re looking at it in an entirely new way,” James said.

Meanwhile, Lakers head coach Luke Walton revealed that the three-time NBA champion had to be convinced to sit out the rest of the season as he was keen to play despite there being nothing to play for.

"He wants to play," Walton told ESPN Sunday ahead of their win over the New Orleans Pelicans. "But it's one of those things where the medical staff just 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."

James finished the season with an average of 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in 55 games. The Lakers were certainly hoping to end their five-year absence from the playoffs when they signed James last summer, but their sixth-year absence from the post-season makes it an unwanted franchise record.