«This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.»
James is the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer at 27.4 points per game and he averaged 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in his first season on the west coast.
He will accompany the Lakers on their trip to New Orleans and Oklahoma City but the 16-year NBA veteran won’t play in the post-season for the first time since 2005, his second year in the league.
James appeared in the past eight NBA finals with Miami and Cleveland but he will finish this season playing in a career-low 55 games and a career-low 35.2 minutes per game.
Los Angeles failed to overcome several major injuries and a mid-season crisis of team confidence when the Lakers attempted to land superstar Anthony Davis in a multi-player trade.
They are 34-42 after beating Charlotte 129-115 on Friday night, with James scoring 27 points in what turned out to be his final appearance.
Although James’ first season with Los Angeles was a failure, it showed promise before injuries changed everything.
The Lakers were 20-14 and in fourth place in the western conference when James strained his groin during a stunning 26-point road victory over Golden State on Christmas Day.
He sat out their next 17 games in the longest injury absence of his career.
Along with James, the Lakers are finishing the season without three key players in their young core — Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart.