LeBron James Potentially Contemplating Retirement After Lakers Eliminated From Playoffs In 20th Season
LeBron James, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers may have gotten swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, but LeBron James can say he left it all out on the floor as he played all of Game 4 outside of four seconds and finished with 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Even though it didn’t end the way they wanted, it was still a very successful season for James and the Lakers as they went from 2-10 to the Western Conference Finals. And on an individual level, James was named to another All-NBA team and broke the league’s scoring record in February.

James has now completed 20 seasons and will be 39 next season though, so it’s fair to start wondering when the end of his illustrious career will be.

It appears that is something he is thinking about himself, per Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report:

Lakers star LeBron James is uncertain if he’ll be with the team when the 2023-24 NBA season starts in the fall, and retirement is under consideration, league sources tell Bleacher Report, TNT.

LeBron has a lot to weigh, sources say.

James would later confirm to Dave McMenamin of ESPN that whether or not he will play in 2023-24 is something that is on his mind:

All of this talk about retirement started at James’ postgame press conference when he was asked to evaluate his individual season and started dropping some hints that his future with the Lakers and in the league is in question.

“I don’t know. I love to play the game. I love to compete,” James said. “I love to be out there for my guys, my teammates, whoever I have that particular year. I think it was special in the fact that having a first-year coach, first-year coaching staff, to be able to take them to the Western Conference Finals, I think that’s dope for Coach Ham and his coaching staff going forward. That’s pretty amazing. For me, it’s all about availability for me and keeping my mind sharp and things of that nature, being present on the floor, being present in the locker room and bus rides and plane rides, things of that nature. It’s challenging. It’s challenging for sure. It was a very challenging season for me, for our ballclub, and obviously we know whatever went on early on or whatever the case may be. It was cool, a pretty cool ride.

“But I don’t know. I don’t know. I think it was okay. I don’t like to say it’s a successful year because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career. You know, I don’t get a kick out of making a Conference [Finals] appearance. I’ve done it, a lot. And it’s not fun to me to not be able to be a part of getting to the Finals. But we’ll see. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest. Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”

LeBron has been clear for years now that he wants to keep playing until his son Bronny, who just committed to USC, is in the league so he can play with him. It’s possible that James’ plans have changed and he really is thinking about retiring. Given how well he’s still able to play though, it’s hard to imagine him actually following through with it.

The Lakers are a piece or two away from getting back to the NBA Finals and competing for another championship, and James knows that as well as anyone.

With these comments and reports though, James’ future will now be something to monitor moving forward into the offseason, which should of course be an interesting one for the Lakers.

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