Lakers Rumors: Nina Hsieh's Contract as Head Trainer Not Renewed by LA After Injuries

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 19, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 03: Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers falls at the Laker bench in the first quarter during game six of the Western Conference first round series at Staples Center on June 03, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
Harry How

Los Angeles Lakers head trainer Nina Hsieh reportedly did not have her contract renewed following the 2020-21 season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN on Saturday. 

That followed a season that saw the team's players miss a combined 201 games, with high-profile absences from LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the regular season. The latter also missed time in the first-round playoff exit vs. the Phoenix Suns.

Per McMenamin, "More changes are expected as the team is in the process of restructuring its approach to player health, sources told ESPN."

While Hsieh may take the fall, it's hard to ignore that James is 36 and has missed 27 games in two of the past three seasons, or that Davis has been prone to injuries in the past and has never played more than 75 games in a season. 

And then there's the major elephant in the room, the compressed NBA schedule this season that has been widely blamed for the rash of injuries to star players throughout the regular season and playoffs. 

James made his thoughts known on the compressed schedule this past week:

LeBron James @KingJames

They all didn’t wanna listen to me about the start of the season. I knew exactly what would happen. I only wanted to protect the well being of the players which ultimately is the PRODUCT & BENEFIT of OUR GAME! These injuries isn’t just “PART OF THE GAME”. It’s the lack of PURE

LeBron James @KingJames

works all year round it’s ME! I speak for the health of all our players and I hate to see this many injuries this time of the year. Sorry fans wish you guys were seeing all your fav guys right now. 🙏🏾👑

LeBron James @KingJames

And I know all about the business side too/factors so don’t even try me! I get it.

Granted, injuries have been a major storyline in recent years for the Lakers. As McMenamin noted, it's "the second time in the past three years the Lakers have parted ways with their head athletic trainer. Los Angeles let Marco Nunez go in April 2019 after three years at the helm after a season in which Lakers players lost 212 games because of injury."

It's been the best of times and worst of times during James' three years in Los Angeles, with a title sandwiched by two injury-ravaged years for both him and the Lakers. 

Changes are reportedly coming within the organization, but factors outside the control of the training staff shoulder at least some of the blame for the Lakers' injury woes in 2020-21.