LeBron James Sparks Retirement Rumors with Cryptic Comments
Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ season-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference final, LeBron James made vague, cryptic comments that indirectly introduced the topic of his potential retirement. Though he never specifically mentioned the word “retirement,” James was measured with his responses and told reporters he had “a lot to think about.”
While it initially appeared that James might retire, an ESPN story cited an anonymous source close to James who said it is believed that James will return and fulfill his contract with the Lakers in 2023-24. However, if James did decide to retire, it would be a stark pivot from his previous plans to play alongside his son, Bronny, in the NBA.
In an interview with ESPN postgame, James was asked about his plans for next season. He responded with, “If I want to continue to play,” before confirming that he was referring to the decision of playing or not playing next season.
What Is Next for LeBron James and the Lakers?
While James’ comments have sparked retirement rumors, Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka acknowledged the franchise will give James time to consider his decision. “LeBron has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who has ever played,” Pelinka said. “When you do that, you earn a right to decide whether you’re going to give more.”
James has spent the last five seasons with the Lakers and won a championship with them in 2020. Throughout the 2022-23 season, James averaged 28.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, helping Los Angeles topple the No. 2-seed Grizzlies and No. 6-seed Warriors in the first and second rounds of the playoffs. However, Los Angeles couldn’t replicate its postseason success against the Nuggets, who swept them in the conference final.
The Lakers now face an offseason of uncertainty, with James’ potential retirement, their plethora of free agents, and everything that trickles down from those looming questions.