The Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs this past week by the Denver Nuggets.
Speaking to the media afterwards, LeBron James hinted that he was open to retiring after this season.
“Going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about,” he said.
Afterward, ESPN NBA insider Dave McMenamin confirmed that James was in fact considering calling it quits.
More about the LeBron James retirement rumors via @mcten pic.twitter.com/aL3zHdeFYE
— Lakers Lead (@LakersLead) May 23, 2023
“I spoke to a source close to LeBron after I walked out of the arena, and I told him what LeBron had just told me, and he kind of walked through the playoffs with me,” McMenamin said.
“He’s like, ‘Man, LeBron really felt the effects of the travel and the physicality in the first round against Memphis,’ [and] then he said, ‘The second round against Golden State brought back some old demons about all those finals matchups they had that LeBron was on the losing side on a few of them and that was an emotional toll that it took on him.
“‘But then you get through Golden State, and you feel like you’ve had everything you had to give, you left it on the court against the Denver Nuggets, and you still get swept.’”
The Lakers seem to be taking James seriously. In a conversation with the media, Rob Pelinka suggested that James “earned the right” to really think about his NBA future – but obviously the team wants him back.
Also complicating matters is the decisions L.A. has to make this offseason.
It is something of an open secret that James dislikes playing with one of the current starters, but avenues at upgrading the roster are limited.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/aCaYAoG1wn
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 24, 2023
One way or another, James will likely return to the Lakers in 2023-24.
Will they be able to get further than they did this past season, though? That is an open question.
Will James’ threat of retirement inspire the Lakers to improve the team around him before next year? One way or the other, an answer will emerge soon enough.
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