LeBron James will not retire this offseason. The 38-year-old Laker confirmed this while accepting an award at the ESPYs on July 12. Comments made after the Lakers' Western Conference Finals exit led many to believe that LeBron was at least considering retirement. "I don't care how many more points I score or what I can or cannot do on the floor," James said. "The real question for me is: Can I play without cheating this game? The day I can't give everything on the floor is the day I'll be done. Lucky for you guys, that day is not today."
"Tonight, I want to use this moment to just say something that I've said a million times and I will never get sick of talking about it: I love this game. I love the game of basketball," James said. "There's a video going around right now on the internet of me coaching Bryce's team last weekend, and it's actually pretty funny. I saw a lot of posts with people talking about, 'LeBron brings the energy to a high school AAU game the same way he would do to a Finals game.' And to me, that's the ultimate compliment. In my 20 years playing this game and all the years before, I've never, ever cheated the game, and I will never take it for granted."
LeBron Back, But Lakers Future Uncertain
The confirmation of LeBron's return will be a sigh of relief to the LA Lakers. Darvin Ham's team has invested a lot of resources into a "championship or bust" roster led by LeBron and Anthony Davis. The team has signed Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Heyes, Taurean Prince, and Cam Reddish this offseason. Furthermore, they retained Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. However, 2024 might be their last chance to win with LeBron.
The consensus opinion among pundits is that LeBron will likely push for a trade next offseason to join his son Bronny on whatever team drafts him. It’s unlikely that the Lakers will have the chance to grab him. If they pick too high in the first round, the Pelicans will likely use their option to take the pick for themselves. However, too low a pick in the first and it’s unlikely that Bronny would still be on the board. Essentially, the Lakers would have to aim for a first-round playoff exit or low lottery finish to acquire Bronny. The eldest James child is preparing to play at least one season of college basketball for the USC Trojans.