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Will ‘King James’ give up NBA throne?

ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst also said James was “essentially sending a message” to the Lakers by inviting speculation about his future.

Analyst Stephen A. Smith is convinced that James will stay in the NBA to realise his dream of playing with his son.

“He wants to hang around long enough to be in a uniform on a basketball court with his son, that is his dream,” he said.

“But it hurts that much to put in all that work and come up short. I think we heard what we heard last night because LeBron James has serious questions as to what the Lakers can truly accomplish.”

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has said that he and head coach Darvin Ham will speak to James and added that their job is to support athletes if they reach a career turning point. AFP, REUTERS

LOS ANGELES – A weary, honest admission that one of the greatest careers in National Basketball Association (NBA) history could be over?

Or a calculated move designed to spur the Los Angeles Lakers into bolstering their roster?

One day after LeBron James sent shockwaves rippling through basketball by revealing he was considering retirement, analysts are doubtful that the “King” is truly ready to give up his throne.

The 38-year-old delivered a 40-point performance in a losing effort for the Lakers on Monday as the Denver Nuggers completed a 4-0 series sweep to reach the NBA Finals.

The defeat drew an unusually cryptic response from James in his post-game press conference as he reflected on a roller-coaster season that saw his team emerge as title contenders despite a dismal 2-10 start.

“I don’t like to say it’s a successful year because I don’t play for anything besides winning championships at this point in my career,” he said. “We’ll see what happens going forward. I don’t know. I’ve got a lot to think about to be honest.”

In remarks to an ESPN reporter, James also made it clear that retirement was under serious consideration.

Asked what he planned to “think about” in the off-season, he replied: “If I want to continue to play.”

That startling admission marked a sharp departure from his previous statements about how he sees the remainder of his career playing career.

He inked a lucrative two-year contract extension with the Lakers last August that takes him through to the end of the 2024-2025 NBA season.

That would potentially provide him with the opportunity to play in the NBA with his eldest son Bronny James – something James has repeatedly said is his dream.

Nevertheless, the forward hinted that the punishing nature of the NBA season, citing the “bus rides and plane rides”, might be losing its appeal after two decades. “It’s challenging,” he said.

“Am I buying that he’s going to retire? No, absolutely not,” he said.

“LeBron is one of the most calculated athletes in the history of sports. Everything he does is for a reason. And whether this is to put a little bit of pressure on the Lakers to improve the roster... whatever it is, there’s a reason he did this.”