Los Angeles Lakers
Will LeBron James play with the young core or the veterans? In this picture, LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is congratulated by his teammate Brandon Ingram #14 and Josh Hart #3 after scoring a basket and getting fouled against Sacramento Kings during the first half at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Oct. 4, 2018. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers will officially kickstart the LeBron James era when they begin their 2018/19 season against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Thursday, and Charles Barkley is particularly interested in seeing how they line up.

Before James joined the franchise on a four-year deal earlier this summer, it was expected he'd be joined by another All-Star to make them championship contenders. Kawhi Leonard was one potential teammate while Paul George was another.

In the end, however, San Antonio demanded too much for Leonard, who had a year left on his deal, and eventually traded him to the Toronto Raptors. George, meanwhile, became a free agent but proceeded to surprisingly re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Lakers, as a result, brought in a number of veterans on one-year deals such as Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley.

The new signings would not only help out the current young core with their experience and mentorship, but can also be moved next year when their deals expire for a potential high-profile free agent.

And throughout preseason, it has been a mix of the young prospects such as Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, and the veterans like Rondo and McGee starring alongside James.

So will head coach Luke Walton continue doing the same or will he start the season off with James and the veterans? Or will the veteran players only serve as backup and mentors for the likes of Ingram, Kuzma and Lonzo Ball? Barkley, for one, has no idea.

"What kind of team are they? Are they gonna let those young guys play, or are they going to put those old guys out there? That's why I didn't understand because those old guys are not their future," the former MVP said on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Wednesday, as quoted on USA Today. "Ball, Kuzma, Brandon Ingram - that's their future. So, I don't know what the Lakers are doing."

"Are they going to try to groom those young guys and go forward with LeBron, or are they going to play those old guys? I think that's going to be the most fascinating thing. I mean, I have no idea what the Lakers are doing. Are they a young team or are they an old team? I think that's what I'm gonna be watching for the most."

The general understanding, however, is the Lakers will play with James and the likes of Ingram and/or Kuzma. Ball could start as the point guard, but having just returned from injury and given Rondo's impressive performances in preseason, he may have to start the season on the bench.

Whatever happens, Rondo expects the youngsters to play a big role this season.

"We’re going to have to ride the young guys throughout the regular season, even in the playoffs. They’re going to play big for us," Rondo said last month. "My expectations are really high for the young guys. They’ll be where they need to be."