Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ disappointing Game 4 loss in the Western Conference Finals, ending their season via sweep at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, much of the focus understandably was on LeBron James.
With his 20th NBA season now over despite an unbelievable 40-point effort in the final contest, LeBron was unsure about his basketball future. The Lakers star admitted that he wasn’t sure if he would continue playing and would serious contemplate retirement this offseason.
This came as a surprise to most, including his star teammate Anthony Davis. But according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, after thinking about it for a little bit, Davis was able to recall a previous conversation with James in which he hinted at this same thing:
Davis, when informed by ESPN about James’ postgame comments following Monday’s loss, was surprised to hear them at first. Like James, Davis is under contract with the Lakers for next season — one of only a few players with deals on a roster that could see a lot of movement this summer.
But after considering the remarks a little longer, Davis recalled a recent conversation he had with James when he told James he “might have one more in me” when talking about the 2024 Olympics in Paris. James told Davis he might already be done by then. Davis, thinking James misheard him, explained he was talking about USA Basketball next summer, not 2028 in Los Angeles.
James reiterated to Davis that he could have already hung up his sneakers by next year’s Olympics.
In the immediate aftermath of a disappointing loss, emotions are obviously running extremely high and there is no doubt that James was legitimately unsure whether or not he would play again. Some time away from the court will surely help clarify things, but this conversation that Davis revealed does show that retirement has been on LeBron’s mind.
After 20 NBA seasons, James has truly done everything there is to do in the league both individually and team-wise. The only known goal left would be to play with his son in the NBA and that could very well push him to continue on. But no one could fault him if he chose to hang it up after arguably the greatest career in NBA history.
Rob Pelinka says Lakers will support, communicate with LeBron James on possible retirement
The decision on whether to continue his career will be made by James alone, but Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka says the franchise will stay in communication with the superstar.
“Coach and I will speak to LeBron in the coming days,” Pelinka said at his season-ending press conference. “We all know he speaks for himself. And we look forward to those conversations when the time is right. I will say this: LeBron has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who’s ever played. When you do that, you earn a right to decide whether you’re going to give more.”
Pelinka would add that it is the job of the Lakers to support LeBron and any other player during these times and the franchise will give him all of the time he needs to come to his decision.
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