Lakers Rumors: LeBron James Won’t Retire & Likely To Return For 21st Season
LeBron James, Lakers
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers 2022-23 season came to an end in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James dropped a potential bombshell revelation. He stated that, after 20 seasons, he was openly considering retirement from the NBA.

Since then, there hasn’t been any official word from James or the Lakers about this. James still has one more guaranteed season under contract with L.A., followed by a player option on the 2024-25 season, which should be the first NBA campaign for Bronny James.

While James is still officially weighing the options, sources believe that a retirement in 2023 is out of the cards, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Beyond James’ retirement decision — which could be a nonissue, with a source close to James telling ESPN on Thursday that he believes the Lakers star will indeed be back for season No. 21 and fulfill his contract — the biggest question facing the Lakers this offseason is figuring out what to do at point guard.

James returning to the Lakers and honoring his contract was always the more likely option. James finished the season with an incredible performance in Game 4 that saw him drop 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists while playing all but five seconds of the game.

It’s hard to see a player as competitive as James walk away after such an incredible performance in the Western Conference Finals, meaning the Lakers aren’t far away from competing for a championship.

This shifts the focus to the next topic, which is the point guard position. After D’Angelo Russell’s poor performance during the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers may be weighing their own options as to keeping Russell — who they have bird rights for — or attempting to land another marquee name on the market.

With James likely re-joining the team, the value of the team’s 17th overall draft selection may be higher to another team than it would be to the Lakers. Perhaps that selection could be used in a trade to bring in a more established playoff veteran.

The Lakers have many questions to answer between now and the start of free agency, but the first hurdle is confirming that James is back in purple and gold next season.

D’Angelo Russell would love to re-sign with Lakers

If he was able to have it his way, Russell would certainly opt to stay with the Lakers. However, free agency is an inherently uncertain industry, and there’s no telling what other teams or the Lakers may want for their point guard position.

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