LeBron James Has Made Final Call on Future With Lakers

LeBron James, Lakers

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It didn’t take long for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James to ditch the idea of retirement, per his agent and longtime friend Rich Paul.

After the Lakers were swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals rumors started to swirl that James was contemplating retirement.

“We’ll see what happens going forward,” James told reporters on May 22 after being eliminated. “I don’t know. 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.”

Those thoughts of potentially stepping away quickly turned into a desire to get back to work to prepare for his 21st NBA season, per Paul.

“You saw at the end of the season and him making the comment about having a lot to think about. And then two weeks later, he texted me because he was motivated to get back out there,” Paul said on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Frank Isola on July 11. “And so you know, that’s the roller coaster that you go on, when you’ve been someone who has come in this league with such high expectations and exceeded them.

Paul added: “I’m impressed with the fact that he still loves it. You know, I really am. And it’s a sight to see and I think people will miss him when he does stop playing. I just try to enjoy every moment.”

Fatigue Spured LeBron James Retirement Talk

The notion of James contemplating retirement took the basketball world by storm. He’s 38 years old but continues to perform at an extraordinary level. James played every minute of what would be the Lakers’ final game of the season against the Nuggets, putting together a stat line of 40 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists.

James played 55 games last season, averaging around 36 minutes per contest. He averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists.

It wasn’t an easy season for James. The Lakers struggled early — starting 2-10 — and he dealt with a torn ligament in his foot that forced him to miss 13 games. James said he was recommended season-ending surgery but decided to push through it.

Fatigue from the roller coaster of a season was cited as the main reason for the retirement talk, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

“I haven’t spoken to anyone who thinks [James] is retiring,” Woike reported. “The biggest reasons given to me for his comments after Game 4: fatigue from the season, frustration with getting swept and a reminder to the front office that the Lakers’ title window is closing, keeping a sense of urgency in the foreground.”

Lakers Feel Good About LeBron James’ Health

James and his co-star Anthony Davis both battled injuries last season but the Lakers have no concerns about those ailments affecting their statuses for the start of next season.

“We feel good about the offseason and the treatment that AD and LeBron are getting,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka told reporters at NBA Summer League. “All the reports have been good around both those injuries, in terms of the guys being able to move past them.”

James has expressed some excitement about the Lakers’ offseason moves, which included signing Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish. They also brought back some key pieces in Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura.

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