The Los Angeles Lakers have some important personnel decisions to make this summer, but the biggest and first domino to fall will be whether LeBron James returns for his 21st season.
He suggested on Monday after they were eliminated from the playoffs that he’s considering retirement this offseason. Although most feel he won’t retire this soon, one has to consider it as a remote possibility at the very least.
But according to a source close to James, it may not be a possibility at all.
“Beyond James’ retirement decision — which could be a nonissue, with a source close to James telling ESPN on Thursday that he believes the Lakers star will indeed be back for season No. 21 and fulfill his contract — the biggest question facing the Lakers this offseason is figuring out what to do at point guard,” wrote Dave McMenamin.
James has two years left on his Lakers contract, with the second year remaining being a player option.
A former teammate of James' also thinks he won't retire
Former NBA center and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins played parts of two seasons with James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he feels there is no way the four-time MVP will call it quits anytime soon (h/t Lakers Daily).
.@KendrickPerkins reacts to LeBron's comments on potentially retiring 👀
"He didn't believe that his damn self. … There's no way in hell that LeBron's leaving without a farewell tour. … That message was straight delivered to Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss and the front office." pic.twitter.com/wpQ69Ibr7Q
— First Take (@FirstTake) May 26, 2023
Perkins gave several reasons why James’ NBA career will continue. First, according to Perkins, James “loves money too much.” Second, he “loves attention” and will want a farewell tour. Third, he’s sending a message to the Lakers’ front office to do what’s needed to get what is already a very good team over the top. Finally, Perkins feels James is sending a message to Anthony Davis and trying to motivate him to prepare and train harder during the offseason.