According to reports, after being swept in the Western Conference Finals, LeBron James will seriously consider retirement this summer.
After getting swept for just the third time in his career on Monday, LeBron James will enter the summer with a wide range of options, including retirement. LeBron James gave the mysterious postgame words, but Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes first reported that the 38-year-old would retire.
According to league sources cited by Bleacher Report, TNT, Lakers superstar LeBron James is considering retirement ahead of the next 2023-24 season.
According to reports, LeBron has a lot to consider.
James will likely think long and hard about his Year 21 decision. The last year of his two-year, $97 million deal is a player option.
LeBron spoke with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin following his postgame news conference to elaborate on his remarks.
LeBron James to ESPN on his thought process going into the offseason:
Q: When you say you got to think about stuff, what thread should we be pulling on that?
A: "If I want to continue to play."
Q: As in next year?
Q: You would walk away?
A: "I got to think about it."
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 23, 2023
James Reflects on Postgame Press Conference
Here are the final remarks from LeBron’s postgame news conference following the Cavaliers’ loss to the Nuggets, which raised some eyebrows for all the right reasons.
However, I am still determining. I can’t say. LeBron responded, “It was all right. Since my only goal at this stage in my career is to win championships, I hesitate to call this year a success. I don’t find much excitement in reaching the Conference [Finals]. I’ve done it several times. Moreover, I don’t enjoy that I can’t contribute to making it to the Finals.
Yet, time will tell. Who knows? What happens next remains to be seen. I can’t say. I have a lot on my mind right now. There’s a lot I need to consider for my basketball career moving forward.
LeBron James’ Stellar Performance Raises Concerns about His Future with the Team
All of this occurred on the same night when LeBron tried to prevent a playoff sweep by performing as he did earlier in the series. LeBron visibly drained, scored 40 points, 31 of which came in the first half. But with the outcome of the game and the season on the line, LeBron ran out of time and energy before he could get off a shot.
Although those remarks are cause for concern, it would be extremely surprising if LeBron decided to leave the team. It seems unlikely that this is LeBron’s final season for several reasons. That’s right; there won’t be a farewell tour or a last game to mark your retirement.
However, at age 38, LeBron James doesn’t have many more games, postseason runs, or seasons in him, so his retirement threats carry more weight than they otherwise could. But this seems like a classic power play attempt from LeBron.
Knowing his feelings on Kyrie Irving, who has watched Lakers playoff games on several occasions, including Game 4, this seems like the best way to coerce the team into making a deal for Irving. James may push the Lakers to make another attempt to acquire him after failing to do so at the trade deadline.
LeBron Retirement Talks and Lakers’ Offseason Drama: Trade Speculations, Sign-and-Trade Possibilities, and Team Dynamics
James used the possibility of a one-and-one contract to force teams to pay attention in past seasons. Not at the moment, although retiring is an option.
The Lakers may try to bluff LeBron into making a bad decision. He’d been talking about retiring so he could spend more time with his son Bronny for years, so why wait until he was barely a year away from really getting the chance to retire? That seems implausible. After Bronny committed to USC, he indicated two weeks ago that he is still “serious” about playing alongside Bronny.
The Lakers will most certainly snoop about and look into trading for Kyrie. However, they would have to cap themselves hard to pull off a sign-and-trade for him, which would bring up a can of worms. Two of Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, and Austin Reaves would have to be traded to make room for him and LeBron and Anthony Davis in a sign-and-trade for him. And those are your only options because, once again, you are hard-capped.
Kyrie is extraordinarily difficult to get short of a mid-level exception he’s not taking, or a significant wage reduction he’s not taking, and smarter folks or those who have dug into the subject further may explain why.
However, unfortunately, any suggestion of a player retiring at the age of 38 should be taken seriously. The Lakers’ summer is shaping up to be EXTREMELY intriguing.
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