The 38-year-old’s future in the NBA is suddenly in limbo, leaving the Lakers in a bit of a tricky situation as the summer approaches.
However, multiple NBA executives aren’t buying the idea of James truly walking away. They spoke to Bleacher Report about the situation and offered their takes.
“He’ll suit up next year,” a 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.”
James just finished his 20th season at the NBA level.
“Give it a week,” another executive said. “Let’s see if he’s saying the same thing.”
Many fans have expressed similar feelings to the executives. Perhaps the biggest reason why folks have a hard time seeing James retiring is because he’s never been closer to playing with his son in the NBA than he is right now.
NBA fans know extremely well that James has expressed a desire in sharing the floor with his son Bronny before retiring. The younger James could join the NBA as soon as the 2024-25 season, which has never been closer.
However, the elder James did make some interesting comments during L.A.’s series against the Golden State Warriors earlier this postseason in which his view of the situation seemingly softened.
“I’ve done what I’ve had to do in this league, and my son is going to take his journey,” he said, per ESPN. “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.”
Still, one has to imagine that the future Hall of Famer would love nothing more than to play with his eldest son.
There are some other reasons why it would come as a bit of a shock if the four-time champion were to retire, including the fact that he’s still an elite NBA player. There’s no doubt that his age is starting to show, but he just finished a season in which he averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.
It’s also worth noting that the veteran is under contract with the Lakers for next season and has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign.
Ultimately, the 19-time All-Star is going to do what’s best for him and his family. In the meantime, however, the Lakers are left with more questions than answers as they try to figure out what the immediate future holds for the organization.