According to BetOnline sportsbook, the Knicks and the Sixers are +300 favorites to become James’ next team if he were to leave the Lakers.
The Knicks are coming off their most successful season since 2013, culminating with a second-round loss to the Miami Heat. The Sixers, meanwhile, are heading into the summer with major changes ahead, including the hiring of a new coach following their dispiriting second-round exit.
There is no indication James will be available via trade. However, he hinted at retirement after a grueling season in which he led the Lakers’ rebound from a 2-10 start to the conference finals. BetOnline sportsbook places his not retiring this offseason as the overwhelming betting favorite, at -1000.
“I got a lot to think about,” James said after playing all 48 minutes and producing 40 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a losing effort in Game 4. “Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”
When pressed further by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James made it clear that he was talking about his immediate future.
James is still under contract for two more years with the Lakers, with a $50.6 million player option for the 2024-25 season when his eldest son, Bronny, would be eligible to play as an NBA rookie.
James had indicated multiple times that he wanted to play with his son before retiring, but his stance seems to have changed.
“I’ve done what I’ve had to do in this league, and my son is going to take his journey,” James said via ESPN after the Lakers’ Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. “And whatever his journey — however his journey lays out — he’s going to do what’s best for him. And as his dad, and his mom, Savannah, and his brother and sister, we’re going to support him in whatever he decides to do. So, just because that’s my aspiration or my goal, doesn’t mean it’s his. And I’m absolutely OK with that.”
All along, it was the first public hint at a possible retirement.
James once spurned the Knicks during the 2010 free agency and instead signed with the Heat to win his first two of four NBA championships. Current Knicks president Leon Rose represented James during that time. Two years later, James left Rose and formed the Klutch Sports agency with Rich Paul.
Ex-Knicks Star Carmelo Anthony Retires
James’ hinting at retirement came a few hours after his friend and 2003 NBA draft classmate Carmelo Anthony announced he was hanging up his sneakers.
Anthony played six-plus seasons with the Knicks during his 19-year career. He retired as the ninth all-time leading scorer with 28,289 points. He was named to the All-Star team six times and the All-NBA team twice during his stint with the Knicks.
The 10-time All-Star also produced one of the greatest single-game performances in Madison Square Garden history, pouring in 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats, the most points scored in the iconic arena since 1968.
Jalen Brunson Honored With Beacon of the Hope Award
Brunson received this year’s Beacon of Hope Award from Covenant House, the largest charity in the Americas helping homeless and trafficked youth, on Monday night during a star-studded gala at the Javits Center Rooftop Pavilion and Terrace in New York City.
“Jalen and his entire family have been amazing champions for Covenant House, providing gifts over the holidays, support throughout the year, and funds that we have used for job training and educational support for our young people,” said Covenant House President and CEO Bill Bedrossian in a statement sent to Heavy Sports.
“Millions of people know that Jalen is an inspiring leader and player on the court. At Covenant House, we are honored to witness how Jalen quietly supports the young people at Covenant House who, every day, are working so hard to overcome homelessness and pursue the great promise of their lives. Jalen is an inspiration to our young people, and I’m so proud to be able to present the Beacon of Hope Award to him on behalf of all the young people at Covenant House,” Bedrossian added.
Brunson’s charity works can be found on his website, jalenbrunson.com, where his fans can donate to the communities, including the Covenant House, he supports.