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#pounditFriday, May 24, 2024

Report: LeBron James considering retirement from NBA

LeBron James in a purple Lakers sweater

Dec 9, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) warms-up prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzles at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Will LeBron James’ 40-point outing in a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday be the last time that we ever see him on an NBA court? It now sounds like that is a very real possibility.

After getting swept by the Denver Nuggets with a 113-111 loss in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers star James mystified fans with some comments that he made in his postgame press conference. In a cryptic quote, James said he had “a lot to think about” with regard to “the game of basketball.” You can read his full comments here.

It turns out that may not have just been James being overly dramatic. Chris Haynes of TNT reported on Monday night that James is unsure if he will be with the Lakers when the 2023-24 NBA season starts in the fall. Retirement is an option under consideration for James, Haynes adds.

The 38-year-old James just wrapped up his 20th season in the league, during which he became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. But he once again had to carry a very heavy load for the Lakers and ended up missing nearly 30 games due to injury (including one that nearly required season-ending surgery). With the Lakers looking like absolutely no match for the Nuggets during their playoff series, James’ last realistic opportunity for another NBA championship may have already passed.

It is still very possible that James, who is under contract for $46.9 million next season on top of a $50.7 million player option for 2024-25, decides to return for another season with the Lakers. He has said many times before that he wants to stick around long enough to play in the NBA with his son Bronny (who is draft-eligible in 2024). Plus, he was still very potent overall this year with 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists per contest. But it sounds like some other bombshell options (either requesting a trade from the Lakers or retiring from the game altogether) are now on the table too.

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