It’s tough going for LeBron James and the Lakers right now.
Just when it seemed as though Los Angeles was starting to figure things out, eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that will sideline him indefinitely. The Lakers are 2-5 since his injury, falling all the way to 13th in the Western Conference standings.
The Lakers’ latest loss came at the hands of the Heat. James led the way with 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but Miami cruised to a 112-98 victory.
After the game, James was asked how much longer he sees himself playing. His response raised some eyebrows.
“I’m a winner, and I want to win,” James said. “And I want to win and give myself a chance to win and still compete for championships. That has always been my passion. That has always been my goal since I entered the league as an 18-year-old kid out of Akron, Ohio.
“And I know it takes steps to get there, but once you get there and know how to get there, playing basketball at this level just to be playing basketball is not in my DNA. It’s not in my DNA anymore. So we’ll see what happens and see how fresh my mind stays over the next couple years.”
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James was coming off eight straight trips to the NBA Finals when he joined the Lakers. He made the playoffs in two of his first four seasons with the franchise, one of which resulted in his fourth championship.
Even though we’re not yet halfway through the 2022-23 season, the Lakers face an uphill climb at making the Play-In Tournament, mind alone the playoffs.
“I think about how much longer I’m going to play the game,” James continued. “I think about that I don’t want to finish my career playing at this level from a team aspect. I’ll still be able to compete for championships because I know what I can still bring to any ballclub with the right pieces.
“I think about my son graduating high school soon, going off to college, and I’m still playing. My youngest son will be a junior next year — how much more time I’ll miss. So throughout the course of a day, to the weeks, to the months, I think about a little bit of everything, you know?”
MORE: Examining LeBron James’ All-Star case and place in history
When will LeBron James be a free agent?
James signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Lakers ahead of the 2022-23 season.
His extension includes a player option for the 2024-25 season, giving James the choice of entering unrestricted free agency in the 2024 offseason.
|LeBron James||$44,474,988||$46,900,000||$50,652,000 (PO)||UFA|
James will celebrate his 38th birthday on Dec. 30. In a recent interview, Dennis Schroder said James told him he hopes to play until he is 45.
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