US basketball

39-year-old LeBron James undecided on future after Lakers’ ouster


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39-year-old LeBron James undecided on future after Lakers’ ouster

NEXT CHAPTER. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts during the first half in game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Once again, NBA veteran superstar LeBron James' future hangs in the balance after his 21st NBA season ended in the playoffs' first round, with Denver ousting Los Angeles in five games

LeBron James wouldn’t address his future plans in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers’ season-ending loss on Monday, April 29 (Tuesday, April 30, Manila time).

Shortly after the host Denver Nuggets edged Los Angeles 108-106 on a late, tiebreaking basket by Jamal Murray to end their first-round Western Conference playoff series in five games, James was asked if there any thought he might have played his last game with the Lakers.

James paused a long time before replying, “Uhhh, I’m not gonna answer that.”

As to whether he plans to plan another season, the 39-year-old veteran replied, “I don’t have an answer … to be honest. I haven’t given it much thought.”

Asked about taking any confidence moving forward from the Lakers pushing the defending champion Nuggets, James said, “No, ’cause we lost. … I’m not a ‘participation’ guy. We lost and you move on and see how you can get better.

“Our season has been derailed all season with … injuries and guys in and out. I talked about it all year. … It’s hard to say who we are, what we can be ’cause we have yet to be whole. I think we were only probably whole one or two times this year. I know one of them was during the in-season tournament, we got whole and we showed what we (are) capable of doing.

“But we were just hit with injuries after injuries after injuries, and it’s just hard to come back from that.”

The Lakers won the inaugural in-season tournament, beating the Indiana Pacers 123-109 in the final at Las Vegas on Dec. 9. James was selected the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

If he decides to come back, James could decide whether to hit free agency or to pick up a $51.4 million player option for the last year of his deal with the Lakers.

James just completed his 21st NBA season, which included his 20th consecutive All-Star Game selection. He is a four-time NBA champion, a four-time NBA Finals MVP and a four-time regular-season MVP.

On Monday, James amassed 30 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. That ended a campaign in which he averaged 25.7 points, 8.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds in the regular season, then 27.8 points, 8.8 assists and 6.8 rebounds in the Lakers’ five playoff games.

The Akron, Ohio, native is the league’s all-time leading scorer, having passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for that distinction last November. –

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