If it seems as if LeBron James hasn't been quite himself since returning from the groin injury that kept him out for 17 games, there may be a reason for that.
Per ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the "word on the street" is James is playing around 280 pounds because the injury has altered his normal conditioning program.
"LeBron has the best sports performance around him," Gaines said. "He is always going to be in the top shape."
Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen mentioned on ESPN's First Take Thursday (h/t USA Today's Scott Gleeson) that James showed "little or no effort to go after the ball" during Tuesday's 117-113 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena.
James has averaged a triple-double with 23.2 points, 11.0 assists and 10.8 rebounds in five games since returning, though he's shooting just 47.3 percent from the field. The four-time NBA MVP was shooting 51.8 percent before the injury.
The Lakers have to hope James is able to get back to his usual self after this weekend's All-Star break. The team is 28-29, three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.