Lakers star LeBron James left a cryptic message to close his season-ending press conference, saying he has a lot “to think about” this offseason.
Well, it appears as if he is truly unsure about his plans, and whether he will be back in uniform next year.
Per Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report/TNT, James is expected to take his time and decided if he’ll return in 2023-24, which would be his 21st season in the league. James and the Lakers were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.
James, 38, set the NBA scoring record this past season and erupted for 40 points in the 113-111 Game 4 loss to the visiting Nuggets. But he scored just 10 of those in the second half and failed to maneuver his way to the basket for a final game-tying shot — which appeared to be at least partially blocked.
For the season, he averaged 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists. So clearly, he still has plenty to offer.
But from the sounds of things, he will be weighing whether to offer them one more time.
“I got a lot to think about,” James said after the Lakers were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about.”
Later, when asked by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin if James is contemplating retirement, James responded similarly. “I got to think about it,” he said.
James has won four championships — two with the Heat, and one apiece with the Lakers and his hometown Cavaliers.
As Haynes noted, James still has two years and $97 million left on his contract, though he is eligible to opt out of the deal next summer.
BREAKING: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is unsure if he’ll be with team when 2023-24 season starts in fall and retirement is under consideration, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport. https://t.co/7M3WuEzwOL
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 23, 2023