Los Angeles Lakers superstar small forward LeBron James is not expected to retire this offseason, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers last summer. He has a player option for the 2024-25 season.
“Beyond James’ retirement decision — which could be a nonissue, with a source close to James telling ESPN on Thursday that he believes the Lakers star will indeed be back for season No. 21 and fulfill his contract — the biggest question facing the Lakers this offseason is figuring out what to do at point guard,” McMenamin wrote.
After the Lakers lost Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to the Denver Nuggets, James hinted that he might retire this offseason. The four-time MVP is 38 years old.
“We’ll see what happens going forward,” James said. “I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. Just for me personally going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
The above comments from James were the first time he’s ever talked about retiring. However, the four-time Finals MVP may have said those things on purpose.
NBA Exec on LeBron James: ‘He’ll Suit Up Next Year’
One Western Conference executive told Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report that James will “suit up” next year.
“He’ll suit up next year,” the Western Conference executive said. “He just changed the conversation. Now we’re not talking about a sweep; we’re talking about LeBron and retirement. He loves to control the narrative.”
Another source who spoke to Pincus believes James is pressuring the Lakers to get Kyrie Irving. LeBron and Kyrie were teammates on the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2014-15 to 2016-17.
Multiple sources have told Heavy Sports that James wants the Lakers to move on from D’Angelo Russell and acquire Irving this summer. Both Russell and Irving enter unrestricted free agency this offseason.
LeBron James May Need Surgery
James has a torn tendon in his right foot and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer may need surgery this summer, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
If James has surgery, he could be sidelined for two months.
“Lakers superstar LeBron James played the last few months with a torn tendon in his foot that could require surgery this offseason, league sources confirmed to The Athletic,” Charania wrote. “James will undergo further evaluations, but a surgery that could sideline him for two months during the offseason is among the possibilities, sources indicated. If surgery is required, James would be expected to recover by the start of training camp next season.”
James suffered his foot injury on February 26 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Akron Hammer was told by two doctors to undergo season-ending surgery, but James opted not to.
LeBron missed 13 games and made his return to the lineup on March 26 versus the Chicago Bulls. The 19-time All-Star averaged 25.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists in eight games to close out the regular season after he came back from his injury. James then put up 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game in the playoffs.