LeBron James hasn’t provided many hints on his plans for next season, and when his agent, Rich Paul, was asked about his client’s future on Friday, he didn’t give much insight, either.
“I have an expectation just as you do,” Paul told Cleveland.com at a Klutch Athletics launch at Xhibition. “We’ll see.”
The coy comments come about two weeks after James and the Lakers lost to the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, and in his postgame press conference, James answered a question with phrasing that was cryptic enough to make a potential retirement part of the offseason dialogue.
“We’ll see, we’ll see what happens going forward,” James said, in part, near the end of a two-minute answer when asked how he’d assess his season. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest.
“I’ve got a lot to think about, to be honest. Just for me, personally, going forward with the game of basketball, I’ve got a lot to think about.”
Agent Rich Paul makes a call during a game between the Bulls and 76ers in 2022.Getty Images
LeBron James and the Lakers were swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals to end their 2022-23 season.Getty Images
Following his press conference, ESPN followed up with James about what he meant by that answer, and the 38-year-old Lakers star said that he needed to consider “if I want to continue to play.”
“I’ve got to think about it,” James said when ESPN asked if he’d walk away and end his career before next season.
ESPN has since reported that James, who averaged 28.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this year, is expected to “fulfill his contract” with the Lakers — a deal that has a player option for the final year in 2024-25 — and remaining with the organization next season.
The Lakers finished the 2022-23 season as the Western Conference’s No. 7 seed before they defeated the Grizzlies in the first round and the Warriors in the conference semifinals
But the Nuggets prevented James and teammate Anthony Davis from earning the chance to claim their second NBA title together.
LeBron James and agent Rich Paul embrace following a Feb. 7, 2023 game.NBAE via Getty Images
His son, Bronny, will also start his first — and potentially only — season of college basketball next season at USC, and James reiterated, as Bronny went through the recruiting process and made his decision, that he wanted to play with his oldest son in the NBA.
Retiring in the offseason would prevent that from happening.
Paul has known James since the star began his NBA career out of high school as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cavaliers in 2003, and he eventually became his official agent about a decade ago with the founding of Klutch Sports Group, according to multiple timelines.