In a recent interview with ESPN, LeBron James revealed that he will consider retirement during the upcoming offseason, raising questions about his future in the NBA.
Following a strong performance of 40 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 113-111 Game 4 loss to the Denver Nuggets, James expressed uncertainty about his basketball career, stating, “Going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
When pressed for further details, James confirmed that he is contemplating his future in the upcoming year and acknowledged the possibility of walking away from the sport. He emphasized the need to reflect on his options before making a decision.
Despite being 38 years old, James led the seventh-seeded Lakers to the Western Conference finals, playing in all 17 of the team’s postseason games. He dealt with a right foot injury throughout the playoffs, an ailment that had caused him to miss a month of the regular season.
James disclosed that he heard a pop in his foot during a game against the Dallas Mavericks on February 26. After consulting multiple medical professionals, he opted for rehabilitation instead of surgery. This offseason, he plans to undergo an MRI to assess the healing progress of the tendon and evaluate his next steps.
While the foot injury affected his performance upon his return, James was determined to finish the season and downplayed the idea of ending it prematurely. He remained confident in his ability to overcome the challenges and push through.
In Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets, James displayed brilliance, scoring a personal best of 31 points in a half during a playoff game. However, his efforts fell short in the closing moments as he missed a fadeaway shot and was subsequently blocked by Aaron Gordon as time expired.
With one season left on his contract with the Lakers, worth $46.7 million for 2023-24, and a player option for the following season worth $50.4 million, James has previously expressed a desire to play alongside his oldest son, Bronny, before retiring. However, he has recently softened his stance, acknowledging that his son’s journey and decisions will be independent of his aspirations.
Sources close to James revealed that the Lakers’ postseason run took a toll on the star player, both physically and emotionally. The challenges of travel, physicality, and facing familiar opponents impacted him deeply, particularly in the series against the Denver Nuggets, which resulted in a 4-0 defeat.
Teammate Anthony Davis, who is also under contract with the Lakers for the upcoming season, expressed surprise upon hearing James’ comments about retirement. However, Davis recalled a conversation where James indicated he might already be done playing basketball by the time of the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
As James enters the offseason, he will have time to reflect on his future. He plans to undergo medical evaluation for his foot injury and assess the Lakers’ prospects for the next season before making a final decision. While part of him considers retirement, there is still a strong desire to continue playing, fueled by his belief that he remains among the top players in the league.
James affirmed his confidence that a full summer of rehabilitation could restore him to his previous level of play, stating, “Because I’m still better than 90% of the NBA. Maybe 95%.”