LeBron James: 3 Reasons Why Lakers Star Is Unlikely to Retire From NBA

LeBron James: 3 Reasons Why Lakers Star Is Unlikely to Retire From NBA

Edwin Kiplagat
  • LeBron James hinted at retirement this week after the Lakers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs
  • James had a successful 20th season which saw him drop 40 points in Game 4 vs the Denver Nuggets
  • Sports Brief has listed the three major reasons why James is not likely to call time on his NBA career

Shortly after the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the 2023 NBA playoffs, LeBron James sent shockwaves through the basketball world after he hinted he may retire.

In Game 4, which the Lakers lost 113-111 to the Denver Nuggets, the 20-year veteran scored 40 points and played all but four seconds. That is telling, considering he is 38 years old.

LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Jamal Murray, NBA, Austin Reaves, D'Angelo Russell, Nuggets,
LeBron James has won nearly everything in his 20-year NBA career. Photo by Harry How.
Source: Getty Images

He carried the Lakers’ offensive burden in the first half, scoring a playoff career-high 31 points on 11-of-13 shooting.

Although LA got swept by the Nikola Jokic-led juggernaut, LeBron averaged 27.8 points on 51.9% shooting, 9.5 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 42.7 minutes per game, per the Athletic.

He averaged 28.9 points in 55 regular season games. In the 2022/23 season, he became NBA's all-time leading scorer after passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record, which had stood since 1984.

The threat of retirement was a bit surprising, and it seems highly unlikely the 38-year-old will walk away from the NBA for three reasons.

1. LeBron and the financial benefits

Leaving the NBA now would not make much financial sense to the four-time NBA champion.

James signed a two-year $97 million deal last summer. He is set to earn $46.7 million for the 2023/24 season and has a player option for the 2024/25 season worth $50.4 million, per Sportrac.

That would be a huge amount to leave on the table for James, even though he is a billionaire.

His Game 4 performance showed he can still go toe to toe against the best in the world. He scored 40 while having a nagging foot injury that forced him to miss the last month of the regular season.

It is also rare to see a 38-year-old making that kind of money, and it would be interesting to see what move James makes in the offseason.

2. Chance to play with Bronny

The four-time MVP has said a few times he would like to play with his son, Bronny, in the NBA. The 18-year-old will be a freshman at USC this upcoming season and will be eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft, per Bleacher Report.

"I need to be on the floor with my boy, I got to be on the floor with Bronny," James said, via ESPN.

At 6'3" and 190 pounds, he is a different player compared to his athletically gifted father, but he still has the potential to be a top player in the NBA. James recently softened his stance on playing alongside his son.

"...My son is going to take his journey. And whatever his journey, however his journey lays out, he's going to do what's best for him... So, just because that's my aspiration or my goal, doesn't mean it's his. And I'm absolutely OK with that," he said, also via ESPN.

James turns 39 in December and will be 40 by the time Bronny is in the NBA. If the king is still on top of his game, he would explore the opportunity to suit up alongside or against his son.

3. LeBron's legacy in NBA

James has nothing left to prove in his career, having won it all. However, winning a fifth ring with the Lakers would be the icing on the cake.

He has won NBA titles with multiple teams, MVP awards, and almost every individual award in basketball.

A fifth ring with the Lakers will also solidify him as one of the greatest Lakers players of all time, alongside Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Considering his performances during the 2022/23 regular season in the playoffs, James certainly can be a key contributor on a championship team.

Furthermore, James' comments could be a way to persuade the Lakers hierarchy to sign another scorer to help him with the offensive burden.

The team has been heavily linked with Kyrie Irving. His retirement comments may be a ploy or a real possibility that he could walk away from the game, per CBS Sports.

Kwame Brown eviscerates James

Sports Brief earlier reported on former Lakers player, Kwame Brown unleashing an attack on LeBron for missing a potential game-tying shot in Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets.

The 2001 No. 1 draft pick, who is widely regarded as having failed to live up to the hype, recorded a seven-minute video to slam the Game 4 performance of the NBA Scoring King.