The consensus around the league seems to be that the chances of him actually retiring in the coming months are slim to none. Some feel his comment merely came from a place of fatigue and frustration, especially after playing with his RPMs at the red line ever since late December.
There is also some thinking that James is pressuring the Lakers to somehow acquire Kyrie Irving, his old championship teammate on the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus (h/t Lakers Daily).
Via Bleacher Report:
“Other NBA sources suggested James was getting an early start on his leverage campaign on the Lakers’ front office, attempting to influence GM Rob Pelinka to chase free agent Kyrie Irving, who is still expected by many to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
Given Irving’s enigmatic and flaky nature, as well as his friendship with James, there is always a chance that the Lakers pursue him and that he would want to come to L.A.
But getting him would mean gutting the team of its newfound depth, leaving it top-heavy and forced to sign over-the-hill players to fill out its roster, much as it was in the summer of 2021 after trading for Russell Westbrook.
James is infamously underhanded and passive-aggressive, so it is very possible that retirement isn’t a real consideration for him and that he simply wants to play with Irving again.