NBA

LeBron James wants to end career with Los Angeles Lakers

By Sports Desk February 19, 2024

LeBron James has outlined his desire to finish his storied career with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite recent reports linking him with a trade.

While James' average of 24.8 points per game this season is down on last term's 28.9, the NBA's all-time leading scorer has continued to impress while playing through a niggling ankle injury in his 21st season in the league.

He has only missed seven of Los Angeles' 56 games thus far in 2023-24, helping the team win the inaugural NBA in-season tournament in December. 

James has a $51.4million player option for 2024-25 with the Lakers, but he recently said he was undecided on whether to take up that option.

That led to speculation that he could be available, with his current team fielding calls from the Golden State Warriors and the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the trade deadline earlier this month.

However, the 39-year-old stayed put, and speaking before his record-extending 20th appearance in the NBA's All-Star Game on Sunday, he gave his clearest indication yet that he sees his future in Los Angeles. 

"I am a Laker and I'm happy. I have been very happy being a Laker for the last six years and hopefully it stays that way," James said. 

"I don't have the answer to how long it is or which uniform I'll be in, but hopefully it is with the Lakers. It's a great organisation with so many greats, but we'll see."

Warriors forward Draymond Green reportedly lobbied team owner Joe Lacob to enquire about a blockbuster trade for James, but he says he played no part in any talks with Golden State.

"I actually heard about it when everybody else heard about it," James told TNT Sports of their interest. 

"Sometimes there's conversations that happen behind closed doors that you don't even know about, I guess until it's real or not, then they'll bring it to you. It never even got to me."

Looking further ahead, James knows the curtain will soon come down on his glittering career, but he is yet to make any decisions regarding the nature of his NBA farewell.

Asked whether he would announce his retirement in advance in order to receive a proper send-off, as opposed to quitting in the offseason, James said: "I'm 50-50, to be honest.

"I was asked this question a couple of days ago; 'Will you take the farewell tour, or will you just Tim Duncan it?'

"There's times when I feel like I owe it to my fans that have been on this journey with me for two decades, to be able to give them that moment where it's every city and they give you flowers or whatever the case may be. That seems cool.

"But on the other side, I've never been that great with accepting praise. It's a weird feeling for me. I don't know how it's going to end, but it's coming. It's coming, for sure." 

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