LeBron James was fed up after another loss and cast some doubt about his future with the Los Angeles Lakers franchise with some fiery postgame quotes.
Despite James’ contributions, the Lakers are not playing winning basketball and fell to 14-21 after the 112-98 loss to the Miami Heat. LA is currently out of the playoff picture and would need to find their footing or make a massive roster move in a hurry if they want to remotely be in the conversation as a title contender.
But James made it clear after the team’s 21st loss: if the Lakers are not playing at a championship level, he does not want to be involved.
“I’m a winner and I want to win,” James told reporters after the game. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion, that has always been my goal since I entered the league as an 18-year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio.
“I don’t wanna finish my career playing at this level from a team aspect. I still want to compete for championships. I know what I can bring to any ball club with the right pieces.”
LeBron James Uncertain of How Long He’ll Play
The answer stemmed from some questions about how long James sees himself playing. He has shown very few signs of his slowing down at 37 years old but admitted it’s something he thinks about — even more often now with the team struggling.
“I don’t have a number,” James said. “I know as long as my mind stays in it, I can play at this level for a minute. Now, that’s up to my mind. My body is going to be OK because if my mind is into it, I will make sure my body is taken care of and I’ll continue to put in the work.”
James signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers in August. He has been very open about the team’s roster construction, which has come under further scrutiny with his co-star Anthony Davis out for an extended period of time with a foot injury.
“We’re already a team without a lot of length, not a lot of size and you lose a 6-11 guy with a 7-6 wingspan…” James said after a loss to the Kings earlier this month. “I mean it’s self-explanatory. It’s not like it’s rocket science.”
James is putting together another All-Star-caliber season, notching averages of 27.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. With Davis on the sideline, he’s taken on an even larger load and had scored 30 or more points in seven consecutive games before Tuesday’s matchup against the Magic. He still managed 28 points in that game and scored 27 in the loss to the Heat.
It should be noted that James cannot be traded this season. The four-time MVP is ineligible to be traded during the 2022-23 season because the second year of his extension exceeds a 5% raise, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
James Recently Deleted Tweet About Making Playoffs
The postgame quotes are the first time James has truly acknowledged the grim reality the Lakers face, not only this season but in the years to come.
But a social media move from James revealed that he’s lost some faith in the Lakers making the postseason, deleting a tweet from April.
“I can/will NOT miss the post season again for my career! This s–t HURT,” he tweeted at the time.
Social media sleuths were quick to spot the deleted tweet and James was roasted online.
The Lakers are currently the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference and are 4.5 games back of the No. 8 seeded Trail Blazers.