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LeBron James addresses future with Lakers after series loss to Nuggets

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Everything is on the table for LeBron James as he finished his 21st season in the NBA with a playoff exit to the Nuggets on Monday. But he’s not letting anyone know at this point which way he’s leaning.

The Lakers were eliminated by the Nuggets in Game 5 of their first-round series despite a 30-point, 11-assist night from James. The 39-year-old forward heads into an offseason with a number of options on the table, including returning to Los Angeles.

However, he made it clear he wasn’t ready to give any hints as to what could be next. Asked if there was any thought Monday’s game could be his last with the Lakers, James responded, “I’m not going to answer that. Appreciate it,” then left the podium.

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There are really only three options on the table for James: retire, return to the Lakers, play elsewhere.

James has one year and $51.4 million left on the table in Los Angeles, but he could opt out of the deal and head to free agency. Any option of returning to the league gets more complicated by the possibility he might decide to see which team drafts his son, guard Bronny James, and to live out the long-publicized goal of playing alongside his son.

Bronny entered the transfer portal and declared for the NBA draft after one season at USC.

“My last year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic back in 2022. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”

James has since said “Bronny is his own man” and that he will allow his son to make his own decision about the future when the time comes.

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As for what’s on James’ mind coming off Monday’s loss, he said his focus is currently on returning to see his family and looking ahead to what’s coming up over the summer. He’s making sure he has his mind on being there for his children and then for getting ready for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

“Start looking at the schedule, obviously I’ve got my son, one of my boys is trying to decide if he’s gonna enter the draft or go back to school,” James said after the loss to the Nuggets. “I’ve got another kid that’s playing AAU ball right now. My daughter’s playing volleyball and my wife is doing so many great things, so it’s about family right now. Then in a couple of months, I’ve got to go to Vegas for training camp. I’ve got to rest my body for USA [Basketball].”

Several NBA offseasons have already revolved around James and the decision about his future. The 2024-25 offseason is appearing to be no different.

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