NBA-James focused on family and Paris Olympics after Lakers playoff exit

By Thomson Reuters Apr 30, 2024 | 2:57 PM

By Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – LeBron James plans to spend time with his family and rest his body before turning his attention to Team USA and the Paris Olympics after the Los Angeles Lakers were knocked out of the NBA playoffs on Monday.

The Lakers fell 108-106 to the defending champion Denver Nuggets to lose 4-1 in the first round, although the series was closer than the final tally suggests.

“It’s about family right now,” James said after scoring 30 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds in the losing effort.

“And then in a couple months I’ve got to go to Vegas for training camp. So I’ve got to rest my body for USA (Basketball).”

James, 39, just wrapped up his 21st season in the league and has until June 29 to decide whether to opt into the final year of his contract with the Lakers for $51.4 million, become an unrestricted free agent or retire.

The Lakers want the NBA’s all-time leading scorer back badly and would be open to discussing the maximum three-year, $164 million extension they can offer, the Athletic reported, citing sources. James would be 42 by the end of the contract.

The Lakers are also open to the prospect of drafting James’ teenage son Bronny in June’s NBA draft if that would help keep his dad in the purple and gold, according to the Athletic.

James in the past has said he wanted to finish his career playing alongside his 19-year-old son but has made that less of an emphasis more recently.

“I haven’t given it much thought lately,” James said when asked about the possibility.

“Obviously I’ve thought about it in the past but at the end of the day the kid has to do what he wants to do. I don’t even want to say kid anymore. The young man will decide what he wants to do and how he wants his career to go,” he said.

“I just think the fact that we are having the conversation is pretty cool.”

James acknowledged that playing in the league for as long as he has had taken a toll but was worth it.

“It’s very taxing,” the four-times champion said.

“Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything … but it’s very rewarding because if you love the game, the process and you love being great, then you don’t mind taking the tax on your body, your mind and your psyche.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)