Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said LeBron James and Anthony Davis are unlikely to play in the team's preseason opener.
The Lakers will begin their preparations for the 2020-21 NBA season when they face city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, just 61 days after winning their first championship in 10 years – a triumph inspired by superstar duo James and Davis.
After a brief offseason, the Lakers will start their title defence against Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers on December 22, with James already stating the franchise will be "very conscientious" with their approach.
"We haven't made that decision yet, but I will say it's probably unlikely that they play," Vogel told reporters on Tuesday.
It will be the first of four preseason games for the Lakers, who face the Clippers again on Sunday before road fixtures against the Phoenix Suns on December 16 and 18.
Both James and Davis signed contract extensions after helping end the Lakers' title drought last season.
James agreed a two-year, $85million deal, while Davis reportedly signed a five-year contract worth $190m after opting out of the final year of his previous agreement – making him a free agent.
Davis and James became the first pair of team-mates in NBA history to each have 500-plus points and 200-plus rebounds in the same postseason.
The first overall pick in 2012 by the New Orleans Pelicans, Davis averaged 26.1 points in the Lakers' title-winning campaign – the most by any team-mate of James' when appearing in at least 70 per cent of games.
Davis' numbers rose in the playoffs too, the 27-year-old averaging 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists as the Lakers lifted the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
He became the fifth player in league history to shoot 50-40-90 in the NBA Finals (.571 field goal percentage, .421 three-point percentage and .938 free-throw percentage), joining Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups, Penny Hardaway and Magic Johnson.
"I just want to make sure I'm good to go," Davis said. "I don't want to rush into anything. We've seen, unfortunately, how football went with no preseason, shorter season, and a lot of injuries happen.
"You don't kind of want that same thing. So I'm going build up the right way. Coach has been doing a great job of doing that with our team, building up the right way."
"I feel good, body feels good, but at the same time I got to make sure the people around me, my training staff, my trainer, training staff, coaches, also be in my ear like, 'AD, calm down,'" Davis added.
"I've been great doing practice. I've been in every drill, being in condition and getting back into the swing of things, but like I said, you want to be smart about it as well."