Despite a masterful 40-point, 10-rebound, nine-assist performance by LeBron James, Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets completed their sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers last night with a 113-111 Game 4 win. However, even though the Lakers’ season is now officially over, they still managed to remain the top headline. James is reportedly considering retirement after completing Year 20 in the league at the age of 38. Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report had it first:
BREAKING: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is unsure if he’ll be with team when 2023-24 season starts in fall and retirement is under consideration, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport. https://t.co/7M3WuEzwOL— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 23, 2023
From Haynes’ story:
“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 is expected to take his time in deciding if he’ll return for Year 21. He has two years, $97 million remaining on his contract, but the final year is a player option.
“I got a lot to think about,” James said post-game. “Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”
LeBron has earned his illustrious place in NBA history through not only the dazzling peaks of his play, but also via his longevity. He is the last remaining active player from the legendary 2003 NBA Draft class, with classmate and friend Carmelo Anthony officially announcing his retirement just yesterday. Seeing James play as well as he did last night at the tail end of his 20th season while dealing with a foot injury that’s probably still bothering him was another page in the lengthy tome covering his career highlights.
Still, LeBron has long talked about wanting to play together with son Bronny, who is eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft class, so it would be surprising for the superstar to exit the game with that dream so close to a reality. Maybe we could see a one-year retirement from LeBron, allowing him to rest up after the many miles on his NBA odometer and some injuries have finally caught up to him in recent years? A rested and recharged James coming back to the league to join his son as a mercenary on the cusp of 40 years old would be a sight to see. He wouldn’t be the first guy in the GOAT conversation to retire and then un-retire around that age, after all.
But that’s just an interesting hypothetical. More than likely, these are probably just words from a man who is tired at the end of a long season that ended in a disappointing fashion despite his best efforts. After a few months off, I’d imagine we see LeBron back out there in a Lakers uniform next season, maybe engaging in much more load management than we’ve seen in the past. If so, lucky us, as we’ll get some more moments like last night to enjoy watching inarguably one of the best to ever play the sport.