LOS ANGELES — After an impressive 40-point performance and near triple-double in a decisive Game Four home loss in the Western Conference Finals, the legendary LeBron James is reportedly openly considering retirement for the first time in his NBA career.
James told gathered media during his postgame press conference that he had “a lot to think about” regarding a return for Year 21 of his prolific career, and a subsequent report from Chris Haynes at Bleacher Report indicated James was “not sure” about whether he would continue his NBA career.
The Los Angeles Lakers made a surprise return to the conference finals this season after multiple midseason trades catapulted them into the 7-seed, and they were able to outduel the higher-seeded Grizzlies and Warriors before running up against a superior opponent in the Nuggets this round.
James this season became the all-time leading scorer in NBA history and has won four championships in 10 NBA Finals appearances. He is second all-time in minutes played and field goals made across the regular season and playoffs behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, third in total games played, fifth in total assists, and 25th in total rebounds.
After a contract extension last summer, James has a guaranteed deal in place for next season before a player option in the summer of 2024, when he would be going on 40 years old. He suffered foot and ankle injuries throughout the back half of this season that will likely take significant rehabilitation, and he told ESPN he has not ruled out foot surgery, depending on what MRI results show this week.
James has made it clear he would like to someday play with his son Bronny, who will be draft-eligible next summer.
The Lakers face big offseason decisions on re-signing core contributors Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, as well as the possibility of seeking out bigger talents like longtime James pal Kyrie Irving.