On a recent edition of the “Smartless,” podcast, James’ legendary father said he hopes to retire as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. “I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James said on the podcast, according to CBS Sports. “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something … It’s like me being in ‘Space Jam’ — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), and Magic (Johnson), and Wilt (Chamberlin), and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe (Bryant), (Shaquille O’Neal) and all of them. The whole list goes on.”
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There’s a reason you’re reading about so many Lakers possibilities these days — with our Shams Charania’s Sunday report revealing the latest — and it has everything to do with the internal urgency that is driving their movements at the moment. Never mind that the people closest to him can envision him playing past his 40th birthday, or that he still has two seasons left on his current contract, the harsh truth is that James won’t be an MVP-caliber player forever.
During an appearance on the “Smartless” podcast where James was promoting his new movie, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” LeBron James, four-time NBA champion shared his love for the city of L.A. as well as the Lakers organization. “I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,” James said.
LeBron James: “However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something … It’s like me being in “Space Jam” — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem, and Magic, and Wilt, and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe, Shaq and all of them. The whole list goes on.”
While predicting the future can be rather pointless work, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is willing to keep Bron however long he wants to play whether it’s two more years or 7. Here’s what she said in a chat with ESPN: “It is like a really good match. We want him to stay around as long as he wants to stay around. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played till he was 42. LeBron said something the other day how he probably won’t play when he’s 46. So maybe somewhere between now and 46, so another 10 years, whatever he wants to do. We love having him, I have to say he drafted a really good All-Star team yesterday. He knows basketball, he’s competitive. We’re having a lot of fun having him around, the one thing that’s missing are the fans.”
Mark Medina: LeBron James asked if it’s a goal to play with his son, Bronny, in the NBA: “That’s definitely one of my goals, but that’s a long-term goal. My son right now is in high school and enjoying what being a teenager is all about. But that would be pretty cool to go on my resume.”
Danny Green, James’ teammates on the newly-minted NBA champion Lakers, believes it could happen, but wonders what kind of physical condition James will be in at that point. “I think he would love to,” Green said in a phone interview to announce The Battle Basketball Showcase on November 20th & 21st at the Allen Event Center in Dallas that will feature Bronny James and Sierra Canyon against Emoni Bates and Ypsi Prep (MI).
“I don’t know if his body will hold up for another three years. I don’t think he wants to play in the NBA and not be able to play at the level that he’s playing at right now. And I think three years from now it will be tough. The way he ‘s going, I would assume most people are a shell of themselves 20 years later.
Kyle Goon: LeBron says of considering retirement: “Me and Tom Brady are one and the same. We’re gonna play until we can’t walk no more.” He says he wants to play until he physically can’t, or until he mentally is checking out. But says LeBron: “I’m not at the end of my story.” pic.twitter.com/i00feTicrL
“I got a lot more game to play. I got a lot. A ton more years to play this game and suit up and be in a Lakers uniform. Once we get to that point, we’ll cross that path. Hopefully I can sit up here and answer questions as a player for a long time.”
Jovan Buha: LeBron James told @tferriss he wants to see the floor with Bronny, meaning he’d play in the league for at least another 5-6 years (via The Tim Ferriss Show podcast): bit.ly/2TOvHgV
In a preview for the second episode of LeBron’s HBO series, The Shop, the Lakers star shared a discussion with rapper Drake about knowing when to call it quits. Drake said that the dilemma was the biggest concern of his career, which led to some key advice from LeBron. LeBron shared a clip of the conversation on Instagram. (NSFW language)
Drake said: “I think maybe one of my biggest concerns in my career is just to figure out how to exit gracefully. I’ve watched people overstay their welcome, and I just don’t ever want to be that guy that’s addicted to the feeling of victory, addicted to the emotion of people digesting something that they love. And get to a point where I’m feeding them something and they’re just like, ‘Yeah ….” To which LeBron responded: “What helps with the gracefully bowing out is having people around you that were there from the Day 1. That seen you from the beginning … You can’t have mother(expletive) around you that don’t keep it honest with you, that don’t keep it real with you. You gotta have someone to tell you like, ‘Yo, either accept a lesser role or you gotta tank.'”
“I think later on in my 30s,” James, 31, said of when he will start thinking about hanging it up. “It’s kind of up to my kids, really. I’ve missed so much of my kids’ tournaments and things of that nature when I’m playing. So, it’s kind of up to them. They’ll let me know when they’re tired of seeing me go away.” James and his wife, Savannah, have three children: LeBron Jr. (11 years old), Bryce (8) and Zhuri (1 1/2).
While James has been able to stay a dominant player for well over a decade, he sees advancements in medical technology and nutrition programs allowing players to extend their careers longer than ever before. “I think with the science and the research and the ability to have multiple trainers and things of that nature and also guys taking the individual account of their own bodies, guys are able to play into their late 30s and some into their 40s as you’re seeing today,” James said. “You got Andre Miller, you got Timmy D (Tim Duncan) who are playing into their 40s. And I played with Ray Allen late in his 30s … (Guys are) playing into their late 30s because of the technology and also guys are taking care of their body and understanding, ‘Yeah, we can play beyond what the expectancy is of our sport.’ So, I think it’s a pretty cool thing. We got guys that are 36 on our team and you look at RJ (Richard Jefferson), he is in better shape than anyone on our team. And you got James Jones as well. So, I think it’s been great to be around guys like that.”
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September 27, 2021 | 8:29 am EDT Update
After weeks of conversation with James, Davis and then-Lakers forward Jared Dudley, who emerged as a sort of consigliere to the Lakers’ superstars in these meetings, Westbrook believed he was on his way to L.A. For years he had angled to get home, and now everything was lining up for it to finally happen. There was only one problem: The Lakers’ efforts to complete the fairytale had been repeatedly stymied by the Wizards’ refusal to make Westbrook available because, sources said, they still planned on moving forward with the Westbrook-Beal backcourt. Westbrook, for his part, would have played out the remaining two seasons on his deal if a trade hadn’t materialized. “No one thought that Russ would get out,” said one source close to the discussions.
That day, a telltale moment occurred: Westbrook received a tip. Not only could the Lakers not break through with the Wizards, but also they were on the cusp of trading Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell — players whose salaries would be required to execute a Westbrook trade — to the Kings for Hield. “That set Russ off,” one source said. “All he wanted, by any means, was to be a Laker.”
On Sunday, the Lakers reached agreement on a two-year deal with guard Austin Reaves, converting his two-way contract to a standard NBA deal ahead of training camp. The Lakers will have a team option on the second year of Reaves‘ contract, sources said. Reaves, a 6-foot-5 combo guard, has impressed the Lakers throughout the offseason and had a strong showing at James’ minicamp. James and Westbrook even had the rookie conduct some fun-loving errands throughout the weekend in Vegas.
Sources said Pelinka and his front-office group strongly considered executing a sign-and-trade for the 32-year-old DeRozan, giving up Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope in the process, but couldn’t come to consensus terms with the Spurs in free agency or a suitable contract number for DeRozan. What’s more, sources say the DeRozan option never advanced to the point that it was presented to Buss.
Elsewhere on the roster, former All-Star center Andre Drummond’s midseason arrival not only failed to pay off on the court, but also, according to sources, poisoned the well with Gasol, who had joined the Lakers after being promised the starting job, sources said, only to be replaced by Drummond, who was given the same pledge.