It’s been around two decades since the Cleveland Cavaliers selected LeBron James with the top overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, which unofficially marked the beginning of one of the most legendary professional basketball careers of all time.
Over the past 20 seasons, James has not only excepted the wildly lofty expectations surrounding him coming out of high school but has been seemingly immune to the passage of time, as the 38-year-old is still one of the best players on any court he steps on.
However, LeBron could only do so much to help the cause when the Lakers faced off against the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, as Nikola Jokić emerged as the undisputed star of a series where Denver pull off the sweep to advance to the NBA Finals.
After Los Angeles was officially eliminated from the playoffs, James implied he’ll be spending some time in the offseason thinking about his future and declined to say retirement was out of the question.
We’ll obviously reach a point where LeBron decides it’s time to hang up his sneakers, but it’s very, very hard to believe he won’t be returning next season (especially when you consider he’s repeatedly expressed interest in teaming up with his son Bronny, who will be kicking off his freshman year at USC in the fall).
Now, Bleacher Report says an unnamed NBA executive has floated a theory to explain why James may have teased retirement following Game 4 even though there’s a very slim chance it’s actually in the cards.
The outlet chatted with an anonymous front office employee for a Western Conference franchise who asserted LeBron’s comments were part of a sneaky strategy, saying:
“He’ll suit up next year.
He just changed the conversation. Now we’re not talking about a sweep; we’re talking about LeBron and retirement. He loves to control the narrative.”
It’s hard to argue that didn’t work, as plenty of people were less than thrilled with the amount of time the media devoted to discussing James and the Lakers in the wake of their elimination compared to the attention the Nuggets received (Charles Barkley asserted he was so sick of the one-sided approach that he turned off his TV).