Lakers to speak with LeBron James in coming days about retirement comment

May 24, 2023 - 3:23 PM
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May 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts to a play against the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter in game four of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. (Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports/File Photo via Reuters)

The Los Angeles Lakers will talk to LeBron James in the coming days after the NBA’s all-time leading scorer said after the team’s exit from the playoffs that he would consider retirement during the offseason.

The 38-year-old James said after his team were eliminated by Denver from the Western Conference finals late on Monday in the minimum four games that he had a lot to think about regarding his basketball future.

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Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said that he and head coach Darvin Ham look forward to speaking with James and added that their job is to support athletes if they reach a career turning point.

“LeBron has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who’s ever played. When you do that, you earn a right to decide whether you’re going to give more,” said Pelinka.

“We’ll be in contact with him, his team, and really providing nothing but support for him. Obviously, our hope would be that his career continues, but we want to give him the time to have that inflection point and support him along the way.”

James’ admission that he is considering retirement came as a surprise given the four-time NBA champion still plays at a high level and has previously expressed a desire to play with his eldest son in the pros, a possibility that could not happen until the 2024-25 season.

No NBA team has ever won a best-of-seven games series after falling behind 3-0 and James did all he could to keep the Lakers’ season alive as he played all 48 minutes of the elimination game on Monday while also scoring a game-high 40 points.

But with the emotion of that loss still fresh, James ended his post-game press conference with a bit of a surprise.

“I got a lot to think about, to be honest,” James said. “Just me personally, going forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”

—Reporting by Frank Pingue in TorontoEditing by Toby Davis