The Los Angeles Lakers faced the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday without their star player, LeBron James. And while most feel that this is a sign that the three-time NBA champion will be sitting out the remainder of the season, embattled head coach Luke Walton believes otherwise.

In a report from ESPN, Walton said that he has not had any discussions with James to sit out the remainder of the 2018-19 NBA season. The 34-year-old cager missed the game with a sore left groin although it was not clear if it was linked to the same injury he suffered on Christmas Day.

"We're a much better team when he's on the floor," Walton said. "So I'm looking forward to him getting back out there again."

At 31-40, the Lakers have a mathematical chance of still making the playoffs. They are 10 games behind the Los Angeles Clippers but the odds stack heavily against them.

According to pundits, it may be best for the Lakers to shut down James and preserve him for next NBA season, the Bleacher Report reported. Even if Los Angeles miraculously advance to the postseason wars, they are unlikely to survive the first-round and get eliminated anyway.

Aside from James, other players in sick bay include Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. With the shortage in manpower, it is pretty clear that the Lakers may be no match for the top teams. Should they snag 8th place, they are likely to face either the defending champion Golden State Warriors or Denver Nuggets. On both counts, there is no denying Los Angeles have little chance of survival.

On Walton's comments of possibly wanting to see James again in the hardcourt, the decision on that may not be his to make. James could opt to rest his injury and prevent it from getting worse. If not him, Lakers management could decide to sit down their NBA star and let the shock troopers or younger players finish the job.

Looking ahead, Walton's tenure with the Lakers is also up for debate. Many believe he will be relieved of head coaching duties and that a new head coach will be taking over. In a previous post, Doc Rivers was mentioned as a potential replacement. However, the one-time NBA champion coach said that there is no truth to that rumor and that he is going nowhere, ESPN reported.