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Lakers G.M. Rob Pelinka: ‘LeBron James has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who’s ever played’

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Lakers G.M. Rob Pelinka - LeBron James has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who's ever played
USA Today Network

Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 113-111 series-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the 2023 Western Conference Finals, rumors surfaced that LeBron James would consider retirement.

Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka was asked by reporters about his professional business relationship and future with the 19-time All-Star.

“We’ll look forward to those conversations when the time is right,” Pelinka said. “But I will say this: LeBron James has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who’s ever played. And when you do that, you earn a right to decide whether you’re going to give more.”

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Nuggets are the No. 1 favorite to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing the Miami Heat with second-shortest odds.

“I think sometimes we put athletes, entertainers, on a pedestal, but they’re humans and just like us,” the Lakers G.M. added. “They have inflection points in their career, and our job as a Laker is to support any player on our team if they reach a career inflection point and really providing nothing but support for him.

“Obviously, our hope would be that his career continues, but we want to again just give him the time. … LeBron and AD as two pillars is, to us, an unmatched combination that we’ll continue to lean into and build around. We’re proud of that combination of superstars and want to continue to invest in that and invest in advancing the growth we had this year into next season.”

Lakers G.M. Rob Pelinka believes LeBron James has earned the right to retire if he chooses to do so this offseason, hopes the 20-year veteran continues to play

LeBron James scored 40 points in the Lakers’ 113-111 loss to Denver on Monday night. However, his incredible first-half performance was not enough. James dropped to 10-2 in career conference finals series. In 16 starts of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the four-time MVP averaged 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game.

“I would say this resoundingly clear: Our intentions are to keep our core of young guys together, and I think we saw incredible growth and achievement by Rui, Austin,” Pelinka mentioned. “I could go down the list: Vando, D-Lo. We have a lot of great young players, and we want to do our best to fit the puzzle together.”

Last August, James signed a two-year, $97.1 million max extension with the Lakers. The 20-year veteran is projected to earn an estimated base salary of $46.9 million next season, and he has a $50.652 million player option for the 2024-25 season. Salaries could increase depending on the 2023-24 salary cap.

If James retires, he’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. In addition to being a 19-time Star and four-time Finals MVP, the Lakers superstar is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader with 38,652 points. He’s also won three All-Star Game MVP awards and received six All-Defensive selections. James was selected to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021 as well.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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