Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is on the verge of turning 38 years old and yet, he remains one of the NBA’s best players. James has shown no signs of slowing down as he’s hovering right around career averages in his 20th campaign.
LeBron is under contract with the Lakers for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons, his 20th and 21st in the NBA. And despite the fact that he’s still playing at a high level, questions will inevitably come regarding his future and potential retirement.
His Lakers teammate, Dennis Schroder, revealed a conversation between the two in which James said that he may want to keep playing for a very long time, well beyond his current Lakers contract:
“I asked him how much longer he wants to play, and he said he wants to play for 5 to 7 more years. He’s turning 38 now, he says 45,” Schroder said.
James has stated on many occasions that he wants to play long enough for his son — Bronny James — to make it to the NBA. Bronny is currently slated to be a part of the 2024 NBA Draft, which would make his rookie year the 22nd season for his dad.
But if what he told Schroder is true, it could mean another several seasons for James even after Bronny is drafted. That could be good news for the Lakers, who have been struggling with the urgency of building a contender around James while he is still under contract.
If James leaves after his current contract expires, it would likely be to whatever team has Bronny, at which point the Lakers could pivot to another roster model or begin a rebuild. Of course, all of this is theoretical and the focus for both James and the Lakers remains on the pivotal 2022-23 season.
The Lakers have some work to do to build a championship contender around James and Anthony Davis, and James has stayed firm on the belief that L.A. should trade future draft picks to help accomplish that goal.
Westbrook trade increasingly unlikely
Despite all the rumors surrounding the eventual trade of Russell Westbrook, he remains on the roster and playing a nightly role for the Lakers. Due to the difficult nature of a trade and the draft compensation required to move him, it is reportedly becoming increasingly unlikely that he is traded before the deadline.
Of course, a lot can still change between now and Feb. 9, making this an extremely important few weeks for the Lakers franchise.
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