LeBron James’ comments about possibly retiring apparently caught teammate Anthony Davis by surprise when he was informed of them.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin noted that while the potential bombshell got Davis’ attention, the superstar noted that it’s not the first time that James has referenced the prospect of retirement.
“Davis, when informed by ESPN about James’ postgame comments following Monday’s loss, was surprised to hear them at first,” McMenamin wrote. “Like James, Davis is under contract with the Lakers for next season — one of only a few players with deals on a roster that could see a lot of movement this summer.
“But after considering the remarks a little longer, Davis recalled a recent conversation he had with James when he told James he ‘might have one more in me’ when talking about the 2024 Olympics in Paris. James told Davis he might already be done by then. Davis, thinking James misheard him, explained he was talking about USA Basketball next summer, not 2028 in Los Angeles.
“James reiterated to Davis that he could have already hung up his sneakers by next year’s Olympics.”
Davis and James have been the key parts of the Lakers’ lineup over the past four seasons. During their first season together as teammates on the Lakers in the 2019-20 campaign, Davis and James helped capture the franchise’s first NBA title in a decade.
A potential title repeat for the Lakers was going full steam ahead during the following campaign. However, injury problems first felled Davis and then James, resulting in a short playoff run for the team.
The 2021-22 season offered hope that a comeback was set to happen, with the addition of guard Russell Westbrook sparking even more enthusiasm.
Yet, once again, frustrating injuries to Davis and James resulted in a disastrous season, with chemistry issues also plaguing the team.
The Lakers struggled during much of the 2022-23 regular season but caught fire once the postseason began. Excitement over series wins against the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors was then snuffed out in a four-game sweep by the Denver Nuggets.
James’ hinting at possible retirement may have just been a case of him letting loose after a frustrating defeat. One reason to discount the possibility of James leaving the court is his past desire to play in the NBA with Bronny, his eldest son.
The potential of the elder and younger James playing together may take place with another team, which would then put a tremendous amount of pressure on Davis’ shoulders.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Davis has had that burden. After he was drafted with the top overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, who were then known as the New Orleans Hornets, the hope was that he’d lead the team to an NBA championship.
In Davis’ seven seasons with the team, that never came close to happening, which ultimately led to the Lakers acquiring him in 2019.
For now, Davis and the rest of the Lakers can simply start preparing for the 2023-24 season. Whether or not James is in the mix may not be known for a while.