LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after missing a shot during the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets in game three of the Western Conference Finals at Crypto.com Arena on May 20, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:00 PM – Tuesday, May 23, 2023
LeBron James, the star player for the Los Angeles Lakers, is reportedly debating retirement before the 2023–2024 NBA season begins in the fall, according to league insiders who spoke to the press.
“I’m simply not sure if I’ll be back in the fall when the season begins,” James said. “I have a lot to think about.”
It is anticipated that James, 38, will take his time deciding whether or not to return for his 21st season. His deal has two years and $97 million left, with a player option in his final year.
“A player option grants the player the power to decide whether to stay for another year or become an unrestricted free agent,” according to NBA.com.
After the Lakers were defeated by the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals (WCF) on Monday night, the unexpected revelation was made by James.
“Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about,” James said after the game.
After 20 years, if this is in fact LeBron’s final season, he would leave the game as the all-time leader in scoring, having passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this season. He would also be the first all-time in playoff scoring, with 2,036 points separating him from Michael Jordan in second place.
James’ oldest child, “Bronny,” which is short for Lebron, is anticipated to be selected in the 2024 NBA Draft and has mentioned hearing his father express a great desire to play in the league with his kin. The proud father has also been vocal about his support for his other son, Bryce.
Bronny you were SPECIAL tonight kid!! Keep going! 🙏🏾✊🏾🤎🏾 #AlwaysProudDad
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 3, 2023
This year, LeBron was among the league’s top players, earning a spot on the All-NBA Third Team. The 19-time all-star player’s season averages were 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists, which helped the Lakers reach the Western Conference Finals despite a 2-10 start to the season.
According to the sports website Spotrac, Los Angeles has $29.6 million in practical cap space going into the 2023 offseason.
For the 2023–2024 season, seven players, including James, Anthony Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Max Christie, Cole Swider, and Mohamed Bamba have signed official contracts, leaving Los Angeles with minimal long-term cash on the books.
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