How much longer will LeBron James play before retirement?

When fans can expect Lakers’ LeBron James to ride off into sunset

The NBA world spends so much time marveling at LeBron James’ unprecedented durability (understandably so) that it becomes easy to overlook the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers star is approaching the final chapter of his transcendent career.
The 39-year-old has four championships, the all-time scoring crown and an unquestioned place among the pantheon of basketball elites. James can walk away feeling extremely satisfied with the indelible mark he has left on the hardwood over the last two-plus decades. There are still a couple of motivating factors that will extend his reign as face of the NBA for a bit longer, but the end is near, according to a leading insider.
“Most people I talk to around LeBron James, about LeBron James– one to two more years is definitely the expectation,” Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium told The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday. “It’s obvious based on his comments he’s at the end of the road.”

LeBron James’ retirement will thrust the NBA into uncertain times

Although this timetable is completely plausible given James’ age, seeing the supposed expiration date put into actual numbers is likely a bit surreal for fans who have followed the legend for their entire NBA-watching lives. It is difficult for them, and probably commissioner Adam Silver, to imagine the sport without him at the forefront.

The league is crammed with exciting young stars who can attempt to carry the mantle after his departure, but the adjustment period could be lengthy. Though, whether it be through ownership or an ambassador role, he will surely be involved in the ever-lasting efforts to grow the game.

There is no need to fast forward to that point yet, however. LeBron James remains committed to his craft for now. With the one or two seasons he purportedly has left, the four-time Finals MVP is surely motivated to make more history. History that he wants to share with his son.

How does LeBron James’ future retirement affect Bronny James’ plans?

Southern California Trojans guard Bronny James (6) is greeted by father LeBron James during the game against the Washington State Cougars at Galen Center.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

James’ potential retirement plan adds uncertainty to the future of Bronny James. The NBA legend has talked about his desire to share a locker room with his son, and could therefore be compelled to endure the rigors of a long season for a couple of more years.

But can the USC guard make the necessary progress to meet his father’s personal timetable? His freshman campaign with the Trojans indicates that the current answer to that question is no. Obviously, that can change as he gains more experience and works to improve his offensive game. Another year removed from his harrowing cardiac arrest incident could presumably do wonders as well.

Still, despite LeBron pleading with the media to let his son “be a kid,” Bronny James could be intent on making an early leap to the NBA. If he does, then a much-anticipated milestone could be reached before the billionaire athlete closes this phase of his life. Declaring pro prematurely, though, could have negative consequences on the younger James’ development.

While it is the four-time MVP whose future is under the microscope, the 19-year-old is entering a crucial decision-making process himself. With a new head coach coming to USC, he can either stick it out with the Trojans, transfer to another school or roll the dice on the 2024 NBA Draft.

It may seem unfair to tie Bronny James into the LeBron retirement speculation, but too much has been said about the father-son duo being teammates to simply ignore. That narrative could also determine where the 2003 No. 1 overall pick plays his final game.

Lakers must make remainder of the LeBron James era count

James has a $51.4 million player option at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, which means he could become a free agent once again. A successful result with the Lakers might go a long way in ensuring that he retires in LA.

The team must overcome a three-game deficit with seven matchups left in the regular season if it is going to bypass the NBA Play-In Tournament. Otherwise, the Lakers could be forced to navigate a do-or-die scenario against the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns or Sacramento Kings.

They still routinely lean on LeBron James, as is evidenced by the 3-point barrage he imposed on the Brooklyn Nets this past Sunday. It will take a collective effort to avoid an early exit in 2024, but James knows what is needed of him in this postseason push. After hearing Shams Charania weigh in on the retirement situation, many fans are going to savor these upcoming games.

He is averaging 25.4 points, 8.1 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting a career-high 41.6 percent from 3-point range. That type of production suggests that James is currently out of Father Time’s field of vision. Assuming there is not a significant drop-off, he will do what few others have been able to– go out as a top talent.

Considering how the Los Angeles Lakers (42-33) were doing right before his arrival, the franchise should be soaking up all the greatness James has left to give.