After the Los Angeles Lakers were defeated by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, LeBron James contemplated a potential retirement from the league after 20 long seasons.
Playing through a torn tendon in his foot, James willed the Lakers to the third round and capped of his season playing 48 minutes, scoring 40 points to go along with 10 rebounds and nine assists in the Game 4 loss to the Nuggets.
It was natural for LeBron, whose tank was on empty at the time, to question how much longer he could not only play this game, but at his incredible level.
Rob Pelinka and Darvin Ham later expressed that they would give James his space to make a decision, but all offseason the Lakers have been operating as if he will be back for his 21st season.
Speaking at the Las Vegas Summer League, Pelinka said that the Lakers were going to allow James to announce his decision for himself, and he did that at the annual ESPY Awards on Wednesday night, via ESPN:
"Lucky for you guys, that day is not today."
Go off, Bron 😂 pic.twitter.com/4X1Fqs0PqX
— ESPN (@espn) July 13, 2023
James was at the ESPYs after being nominated for Best Record-Breaking Performance, which he of course went on to win after breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record this past season.
Despite LeBron’s comments after the conclusion of last season, nobody really expected him to retire so this announcement doesn’t really come as a surprise. James even recently took to social media to welcome the team’s additions in free agency, so he seems excited to play with the Lakers squad that Pelinka has put together.
James is set to make $47.6 million this season, which could be his last with the Lakers although he does have a $51.4 million player option for 2024-25. LeBron has expressed a desire to play with his son Bronny, who will be draft eligible for the first time next year. After 20 seasons and at age 38 though, James will be making decisions on a year-to-year basis from here on out.
Pelinka gives health updates on James and Davis
At the conclusion of last season, James never revealed if he would be having surgery on his injured foot or if rest would heal it.
Regardless, Pelinka recently gave an update on both James and Anthony Davis and said both are progressing well with the expectation that they will be ready for the start of the season.
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