Is LeBron James Really Considering Retirement? What it Would Mean for His Contract and the Lakers
Following the Los Angeles Lakers' season-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals on Monday night, LeBron James made a comment during his postgame press conference that implied he may consider retirement this offseason. Although it is possible that James is considering retiring his iconic Nikes, it would come at a significant financial loss due to the contractual obligations. James is under contract with the Lakers through the 2024-25 season, and he signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers last August that would keep him at the club through the 2024-2025 season. With his 39th birthday coming up in December, James has one more season under his Lakers contract that will pay out $46.7 million in 2023-24. He also holds a player option for the subsequent season, which would net him $50.4 million.
Speculations are rife regarding James's comment, and whether he's considering retirement because of his injury, or because he's not sure if the Lakers will be good enough to win the NBA championship next season, or if he's bluffing is anyone's guess at this point. However, James has expressed on multiple occasions that he has a desire to play in the NBA with his son, Bronny, who likely will enter the league for the 2024-25 season. James has also publicly said many times that he hopes to one day play with his son, Bronny, who will be a highly-touted freshman at USC next season and could enter the 2024 NBA Draft.
If James were to retire this offseason, he would lose the entirety of that recent extension, which breaks down like this: James still has two years left on his contract, including a player option for the 2024-25 season. He is set to make slightly less than $47 million in the upcoming season. The value of his choice for 2024 is slightly more than $50 million. Although James doesn't require the funds, rejecting the offer would still be impressive.
However, there's also the idea that James is using his leverage to ensure the Lakers make the kind of moves necessary to become a better team next season. Moreover, he has a reputation for exerting pressure on his teams via social media and the press, and this may be one of those situations where James is urging the Lakers to improve their roster even more for the upcoming season. Although the Lakers advanced to the Western Conference finals, they relied heavily on Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, and Schroder for offensive production during Game 4.
0. “LeBron James implies he may have surgery on his right foot this offseason” Yahoo Sports, 23 May. 2023, https://sports.yahoo.com/lebron-james-implies-may-surgery-225750426.html