LeBron James has said he will consider retirement this offseason

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James walked down the ramp to exit the arena Monday night, completing his 20th NBA season without the playoffs, not knowing if it would be the last time he made that walk. Active player.

James told ESPN that he would consider retirement this offseason.

After scoring 40 points and playing all but four seconds in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 113-111 Game 4 win over the Denver Nuggets — including his last-second floater to try to force overtime at the buzzer — James wrapped up his news conference by telling reporters, “Going forward with the game of basketball, I have a lot to think about.”

After the news conference, ESPN asked James to explain his statement.

When you say you have to think about things, what thread should we pull on it?

“I want to keep playing,” James said.

Like next year?


Will you walk away?

“I’ll have to think about it.”

James, 38, no. Finished his campaign by leading the 7-seed Lakers to the Western Conference Finals.

He played in all 17 of L.A.’s postseason games — including a play-in win over the Minnesota Timberwolves — while still nursing a right foot injury that caused him to miss a month late in the regular season due to torn ligaments.

James said he heard a pop when he injured his foot on Feb. 26 against the Dallas Mavericks. He consulted a cadre of medical professionals before finding a doctor he describes as “the LeBron James of feet,” many of whom recommended surgery. He promised to rehabilitate the injury and return to the court without any procedure.

Asked Monday if surgery would be an option this summer, James told ESPN, “I’m going to get an MRI on it and see how the tendon heals or not and go from there. We’ll see what happens.”

While James admitted his performance was affected by his foot injury upon his return, he said he did not intend to end his season early in 2021-22 when he missed the final five games with an ankle injury. And in 2018-19, when he missed the last six contests due to a groin strain that never fully healed.

“I knew I could get to the finish line,” James told ESPN. “Obviously, I knew I had to deal with it and deal with the pain or not being myself before the injury, but there was nothing that made me feel like I couldn’t get to the finish line.”

James played in his 282nd career playoff game and had a great performance in Game 4 against Denver, setting a personal best for points in a half of a playoff game by leading the Nuggets to 31 points on 11-13 shooting at halftime.

Although he finished with nearly twice as many points as his next closest teammate (Anthony Davis scored 21), James ultimately came up short twice while trying to stretch the game — first missing a fadeaway with 26 seconds left, then getting blocked. Aaron Gordon timed out.

James has one season left on his contract with the Lakers worth $46.7 million through 2023-24 and a player option for another season worth $50.4 million.

Over the past few years, he has repeatedly stated that his goal is to play in the league with his oldest son, Branny, before retiring. As he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record in February, he told ESPN that the last thing left for him to accomplish after the scoring mark was, “I got to play with my boy.”

But recently he has softened on that attitude. After the Lakers’ Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the second round — which happened to coincide with the day Brony announced he would play college basketball for USC next season — James adjusted expectations.

“I did what I had to do in this league and my son is going to take his journey,” he said. “And whatever his journey is, whatever his journey is, he’s going to do what’s best for him. And just like his dad and his mom, Savannah and his brother and sister, we’re going to support him in whatever decision he makes. So. So, because that’s my aspiration or my goal, It’s not his. And I’m totally fine with that.”

A source close to James told ESPN that L.A.’s postseason run taxed the Lakers star in a variety of ways: the long flights and physical play in the Memphis Grizzlies series; the emotional and mental exhaustion of eliminating his old foes in Golden State’s series; And against Denver he gave everything he had left to give and still lost the series 4-0.

Davis, when told by ESPN about James’ postgame comments after Monday’s loss, was surprised at first to hear them. Like James, Davis is under contract with the Lakers for next season — one of the few players with deals on a roster that could see a lot of movement this summer.

But after mulling over the comments for a bit, Davis recalled a recent conversation with James when he told James “there might be one more in me” while talking about the 2024 Olympics in Paris. James told Davis he might have already finished. Davis, thinking James misheard him, explained that he was talking about USA Basketball next summer, not 2028 in Los Angeles.

James reiterated to Davis that he could already be hanging up his sneakers by next year’s Olympics.

For now, James will have time to think. He checks his feet. He’ll see how the Lakers look for next season and decide if he’s a good fit for campaign No. 21.

As much as a side of him wondered if it was time to go, there was more to it.

When asked by ESPN if he believes a full summer of rehab will get him back to the player he was before his foot injury, James laughed.


“Because I’m still better than 90% of the NBA,” he said. “Maybe 95.”

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