He made a very interesting comment toward the end of his postgame press conference that has many wondering about his future in the league.
He ended this answer by saying:
“I got a lot to think about. … Personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.” 🤔
— Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand) May 23, 2023
Following James’ press conference, it was reported that he is indeed considering retiring.
LeBron James to ESPN on his thought process going into the offseason:
Q: When you say you got to think about stuff, what thread should we be pulling on that?
A: "If I want to continue to play."
Q: As in next year?
Q: You would walk away?
A: "I got to think about it."
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 23, 2023
BREAKING: LeBron James is considering retiring after this season, per @ChrisBHaynes
— Lakers Daily (@LakersDailyCom) May 23, 2023
In some ways, it was a somewhat successful season for James. He averaged 28.9 points on 50.0 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in the regular season. In February, he surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
After the Lakers were under .500 and seemingly headed toward missing the playoffs yet again, James was able to drag them into the playoffs and to a Western Conference Finals appearance. They started the season 2-10 and were given an astronomically low chance of reaching the playoffs.
But it was also a difficult year for him. After Anthony Davis went down with a right foot stress injury in December, James started playing heavy minutes and putting up big numbers in an attempt to keep L.A. in the hunt for a playoff spot. But his own feet couldn’t handle the pounding, and he suffered ailments in both feet shortly afterwards.
The most troubling one was the right foot tendon injury he sustained in late February that forced him to miss a month of action. After he returned, he said he tore the tendon that was injured and that he may have to have surgery on it this offseason.
“I’m going to get an MRI on it and see how the tendon either healed or not healed and go from there,” he told ESPN on Monday when asked if surgery might be an option this summer. “We’ll see what happens.”
If James addresses the ailment, there is little reason to believe he won’t play at a high level next season. But of course, if he does opt to have surgery, there is the question of how long he will have to spend recovering before he can return to game action.
The four-time champion seems to be pretty confident that he can get back to the level he was playing at before that February injury.
“Because I’m still better than 90 percent of the NBA,” he told ESPN when asked why he believes a full summer of rehab can get him back to that level. “Maybe 95.”
Talent-wise, the Lakers aren’t that far off from winning another NBA title. However, they will only go as far as James can take them, and his health has to come first.