For the first time in his storied career, LeBron James has been bounced in the first round of the playoffs. For a brief time, it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were headed for another NBA title run but injuries caught up to them. Once Anthony Davis went down with a groin injury, the writing was on the wall.
During next season, LeBron will be turning 37-years-old and the idea of retirement will undoubtedly start entering his head. In recent years, he would’ve been able to carry a lackluster supporting cast to a playoff series win while Davis got healthy. However, it’s clear that he can’t do that at this point in his career. Channing Frye played with LeBron while he was in Cleveland and he believes that the Lakers need to surround him with better pieces this offseason.
“This is the summer of Rob Pelinka,” Frye said on the Talkin’ Blazers podcast. “Bron needs to say ‘Of everything I’ve done in my career, you obviously see I can’t, in today’s age, take a team and win you 50 games myself. I can’t do it. What I can do is provide leadership and culture and I need to take two steps back.’
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Frye Believes LeBron Should Retire if Lakers Don’t Get Him More Help
There’s no doubt that LeBron is finally entering the decline period of his career. He was clearly still dealing with a bum ankle in the playoffs but that’s not something that would’ve slowed him down just a few years ago. Frye believes that LeBron should consider retiring if the Lakers can’t give him more to work with next season.
“He can be your facilitator, your guy. You cannot rely on him to give you fifty. You cannot rely on him to give you these crazy triple-doubles,” Frye said. “He’s just had too many miles, the tread is almost off the tire.
“So if Rob cannot bring him a championship team, Bron, in my opinion, should say ‘Thank you. I had a great career, 18, 19 years in the league… I’m going to retire on top.”
That would be a drastic step for LeBron to take. In the Lakers’ defense, they’ve given him a lot to work with. Trading for Davis was a really big deal. Even this past offseason, the team was praised for the moves they made. It’s premature to suggest that the team is cooked after a season filled with bad injuries.
LeBron Isn’t Retiring Anytime Soon
Frye obviously knows LeBron from their time in Cleveland but there’s no way that the superstar is retiring right now. Prior to the ankle injury earlier in the season, he was one of the favorites to win league MVP. When healthy, he’s still arguably the best player in the world.
LeBron isn’t going to want to call it a quits after a season that saw him lose in the first round for the first time. He’s still got plenty left to give. It’s true that the Lakers should add more talent around him but the team isn’t bad enough to where LeBron needs to hold their feet to the fire.