Lakers News: Phil Handy Expects LeBron James To Return For 2023-24 Season
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James had an eventful Year 20 in the NBA, moving up several all-time lists and becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer. James also helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to an unprecedented Western Conference Finals appearance where they were swept by the eventual champions the Denver Nuggets.

However, James set a fear and panic in the fan base when he teased that he could potentially decide to retire from the game of basketball. His announcement shocked everyone as the expectation is he’ll play until his eldest son Bronny James makes it to the NBA himself.

By all accounts, though, the Lakers are operating under the assumption that James will return for the 2023-24 season. Aside from the front office, members of the coaching staff seem to believe James is coming back as Phil Handy said the plan is to have their star player back in the fold, via Nicole Ganglani of Basketball Network:

Despite a foot injury that clearly limited him throughout the 2023 playoffs, James still had the burst and athleticism to overpower defenders and get to the cup in transition. The playmaking also never waned as he was able to bend defenses and make them pay for over-helping in half court sets.

With how well he takes care of his mind and body, the 38-year-old can feasibly play at a star level for a few more years. Working in Los Angeles’ favor is that they got close enough to a championship that they could argue to James that just a couple tweaks to the roster would make them a serious threat for a title next season.

While a decision hasn’t officially been made yet, the growing belief is that James will indeed return for Year 21 to help lead the purple and gold through the postseason again. The 2023-24 campaign represents probably his best chance at another ring and the franchise should do everything in their power to help him get there.

Dwayne Wade believes LeBron James’ injury helped Lakers down stretch of 2022-23 season

James’ foot injury put him on the sidelines for over a month, leaving the rest of the team to claw and scratch their way to the Play-In Tournament. In the process, certain role players like Austin Reaves were able to hit a groove which is why Dwyane Wade believes James’ injury was actually a blessing in disguise.

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