After LeBron James admitted he might retire after being eliminated from the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles Lakers rumors swirled about the franchise’s future. While some believe James might retire, others seem to view his statement as selfish.
James, age 38, tore a tendon in his foot during a game in February. After being sidelined for a month, he returned to the court after opting against surgery. While he played well through the recurring pain, James’ age and limited explosiveness became apparent late in games.
- LeBron James career stats: 38, 652 points, 10,667 rebounds, 10,420 assists, 2,186 steals
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After being eliminated by the Denver Nuggets, James told reporters after the game that he wasn’t certain about his future. Following years of stating his desire to not retire until after he played with his son, the future Hall of Famer suddenly opened the door to walking away from basketball.
An NBA executive with a Western Conference team told Bleacher Report that he believes James hinted at retiring during his press conference to put the conversation back on himself.
“He’ll suit up next year. 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.”
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The anonymous executive is correct that James’ comments took the spotlight away from Denver. As the Nuggets celebrated their first Western Conference title, the focus on sports shows centered on James and the Lakers.
However, there are reasons to believe James could retire. He’s considering foot surgery entering his age-39 season, which would jeopardize his availability for training camp and the regular season. Even if he doesn’t undergo surgery, it’s possible the tendon doesn’t completely heal on its own and it would become a recurring issue next season.
James also recently admitted that he doesn’t know if his son, Bronny, shares the same desire to be one of the rare father-son duos in the NBA. If that’s no longer a priority for LeBron James and it’s determined that the foot injury won’t heal or surgery will derail the upcoming 2023-’24 NBA season, he could ultimately retire.