The Los Angeles Lakers have been officially eliminated from the NBA playoffs after the Denver Nuggets completed a four-game sweep in the Western Conference Finals. However, that doesn’t mean LeBron James will stay out of the headlines. The 38-year-old has hinted at retirement in the offseason, causing speculation amongst fans and media pundits.
Will James actually retire in the 2023 offseason? If the odds are any indication, don’t count on it. Let’s break down the chances below.
Will LeBron James Retire?
An offshore sportsbook has the following odds for whether or not LeBron James will retire:
- Yes: +550
- No: -1000
Odds as of Tuesday, May 23 at 11 a.m. ET.
The Case For Retirement
Following the Lakers’ elimination from the playoffs, James hinted at the possibility of stepping away from the NBA. He expressed uncertainty about his future with the team, stating that retirement was under consideration. These comments naturally stirred up speculation about the future plans of the four-time NBA champion and future Hall of Famer.
If James retires, people seem to agree that it would be a “break” with the All-Time leading scorer coming back at some point. Here’s a scenario laid out by NBA personality Rob Perez on Twitter, which involves James taking a year off and joining his son in the NBA a year later:
1) retire for a year
2) watch Bronny at USC
3) recharge the body
4) come back in 2024
5) sign with whatever team drafts Bronny
not a bad strategy at all, to be honest. and he wouldnt end his career getting swept. LeBron is not going to end his career getting swept, right? right? https://t.co/zJ2L7NSD5T
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 23, 2023
However, that series of events is more complicated than simply retiring. James has another year left on his contract with the Lakers, which then turns into a player option in 2024.
The Case Against Retirement
The -1000 odds listed above suggest that James will return to the hardwood next season.
Many people find it hard to believe that we have witnessed his last professional game. Others think we will get a ceremonial goodbye from James with a full retirement tour in his final year.
Also, it feels like he has plenty left in the tank. That was on display in Game 4, as James recorded 40 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, demonstrating his relentless drive to compete at the highest level. Despite the team’s loss, LeBron’s exceptional performance reaffirmed his stature as one of the game’s greatest players.
As we await further updates from “the King,” fans can only hope for more incredible moments from one of basketball’s greatest icons.