LeBron mulling future: 'I have a lot to think about'
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is uncertain of his future with the team and is considering retirement, sources told Bleacher Report's Chris Haynes.
James didn't commit to a plan of action after the Lakers' season ended Monday as the Denver Nuggets swept them from the Western Conference finals.
"I'm simply not sure if I'll be back in the fall when the season begins," James told Haynes. "I have a lot to think about."
Instead, the 38-year-old openly pondered his future postgame.
"Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about," he said at the end of his media availability, according to The Athletic's Jovan Buha.
Asked about his thought process going into the offseason, James said he has to consider whether he wants to return for a 21st NBA campaign, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
James scored 40 points while playing almost the entirety of Monday's 113-111 series-ending loss. L.A.'s next-leading scorer was Anthony Davis, who added 21 points.
The Lakers overhauled the roster around James ahead of this year's trade deadline, adding Rui Hachimura, D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Mo Bamba. Head coach Darvin Ham removed Russell and Vanderbilt from the starting lineup before Monday's loss in favor of Hachimura and veteran guard Dennis Schroder.
James has eclipsed 60 regular-season games just once since joining the Lakers. He suffered a groin strain during a Christmas Day matchup against the Golden State Warriors during his first season with L.A. in 2018-19, with the injury causing him to miss over a month and derailing the Lakers' campaign. He revealed the following year that he played with a partially torn groin muscle even after returning.
He then sustained a high ankle sprain in March 2021 in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, which limited him to just four of his team's final 30 regular-season contests. He managed to play in the first round of the playoffs as the Lakers lost in six games to the Phoenix Suns.
James tore a tendon in his foot this past February and was sidelined for just under four weeks. He also sustained an ankle injury late in Game 2 against the Nuggets after stepping on Davis' foot, but he didn't miss any time.
Los Angeles has six players under contract for next season: James, Davis, Beasley, Bamba, Vanderbilt, and 20-year-old Max Christie. The organization can create more cap space this offseason by declining Beasley's $16.5-million team option.
James finished the postseason averaging 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.1 steals over 16 games. He has two years and $97.1 million left on his contract, including a player option for the 2024-25 campaign.
Carmelo Anthony, James' former Lakers teammate and 2003 draft classmate, retired earlier Monday.
A four-time NBA champion, four-time league MVP, and four-time Finals MVP, James added to his illustrious career in February by surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer.