In his postgame press conference after being swept from the Western Conference Finals by the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James shocked the NBA world by hinting at a potential retirement. When asked what he meant when he said he had stuff to think about he has quoted as saying, “If I want to continue to play”.
With James currently being 38 years old, and suffering a torn tendon in his foot that will require surgery in the offseason, this could be the perfect time for The King to either call it a career or join the league’s voluntarily retired list. If James were to do this, he would have to sit out the next season, however, in the 2024-25 season, he would be able to sign with any team he wanted for any amount of money that he agreed to.
This would put him in a position to watch his oldest son play at USC, then join whatever team drafts him on a minimum deal. James would get the chance to take some much-needed time off and would be able to fully focus on recovering from his foot surgery. While it may be a stretch to believe that he would take a minimum deal, it would allow whichever team drafts his son to build a super team, and let LeBron likely win a ring with his son.
Despite James tossing the idea of retirement out there, there are many that find it a bit hard to believe. In the closeout game despite losing the game, James finished the contest with nearly a 40-point triple-double. However, if LeBron does retire for good or join the voluntarily retired list for a season, the Los Angeles Lakers front office will have their hands full with how to move on. There are two avenues that they could take, and both of them could be very tough to pull off.
The first way that the Lakers could move forward from losing LeBron James would be to begin to build the team around Anthony Davis. This is a very risky strategy for the team as Davis has struggled to remain on the court due to injuries, and still has not proven himself as a player that is capable of leading a team to a championship. They would have a max contract slot due to James leaving that they could use to either sign a star player, or better round out the roster to better fit Davis’s skillset.
The other option that the Lakers would have would be to completely blow the team up and begin a rebuilding era. Out of the two options, this potentially would be the smartest. It would be much too risky to try to push for a ring with Davis as the team’s clear best player. Currently, the Lakers do not have much draft capital, and it would be very difficult to trade for players that would be great fits on the roster. As a result of this, they could trade Davis for a young star and some picks. Along with this, they could further liquidate the veterans on their team for more draft picks.
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