The season is over for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, and after 20 years, James sounds as if he is thinking about calling it quits.
In fact, he’s just coming right out and saying it.
“I got a lot to think about,” James told reporters after the Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets in four games in the Western Conference finals. “Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”
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Later in the evening, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report cited sources in reporting James will indeed weigh retiring this offseason. James, 38, just completed his 20th season and became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer along the way.
James also told Dave McMenamin of ESPN that “I got to think about it” when asked directly if he might retire this summer.
This is a different take than the one James gave during the season, as he’s repeatedly stated he would like to play with his oldest son, Bronny James. Bronny will be a freshman at USC this next season and won’t be eligible for the NBA Draft until the summer of 2024.
That means LeBron would have to play another full season before getting the chance to play with Bronny.
Certainly, James is capable — as could be evidenced by his 40-point outburst in the Game 4 loss to the Nuggets on Monday. But even that wasn’t enough, leading to some speculation that James is only sending the retirement message to get the Lakers’ front office to improve the roster.
Others say James did not look the same in the season’s second half, stats be darned. He is no longer capable of carrying a team to greatness, critics say.
But he’s still undoubtedly capable of being an All-Star-caliber player, and perhaps that is how James would like to be remembered. Playing beyond this season means running the risk of damaging his legacy to younger generations.
Either way, knowing James, this will drag out for a few more months before he makes a firm decision — or at least, before he lets anyone know of his decision.
Undoubtedly the greatest player of his era, James has probably earned that right.
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