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NBA PM: LeBron James Discusses Retirement

That headline seems strange, but LeBron James discussed when he wants to retire and what factors he’ll consider.



With Scott Skiles resigning from the Orlando Magic, what’s next for the team? Steve Kyler discusses in this video.

LeBron James Discusses Retirement

The Cleveland Cavaliers have yet to lose a game this postseason and the terrific play of superstar LeBron James is a big reason for the team’s success.

Through two rounds, James has averaged 23.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.4 steals – leading Cleveland to sweeps over the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers will face either the Toronto Raptors or Miami HEAT in the Conference Finals and they are the clear favorite to represent the East in the NBA Finals. If they advance as expected, James would make his sixth-straight Finals appearance.

Because James continues to be one of the NBA’s most dominant players and has never really missed a significant chunk of time due to injury, there is rarely talk about him retiring. He is obviously still in his prime and isn’t at the point where people typically wonder how many years he has left.

With that said, he will be 32 years old in December and it must be noted that he has played a ton of minutes over the course of his 13-year NBA career, especially since he has been a part of so many postseason runs. Counting his regular season and playoff games, he has appeared in 1,173 NBA contests. Factor in Olympic runs, preseason games and practice time, and there’s no denying that James has a lot of basketball miles on his body. Because of this wear and tear, he was recently asked when he expects to retire.

“I think later on in my 30s,” James responded, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s kind of up to my kids, really. I’ve missed so much of my kids’ tournaments and things of that nature when I’m playing. So, it’s kind of up to them. They’ll let me know when they’re tired of seeing me go away.”

James has three children: LeBron Jr. (11 years old), Bryce (8) and Zhuri (1).

Fortunately for James, he has been very healthy throughout the course of his career. He is thankful that he plays in this era, with so much progress being made to protect athletes’ bodies, and believes recent advances can extend his career even further.

“I think with the science and the research and the ability to have multiple trainers and things of that nature and also guys taking the individual account of their own bodies, guys are able to play into their late 30s and some into their 40s, as you’re seeing today,” James told ESPN. “You got Andre Miller, you got Timmy D [Tim Duncan], who are playing into their 40s. And I played with Ray Allen late in his 30s.

“[Guys are] playing into their late 30s because of the technology and also guys are taking care of their body and understanding, ‘Yeah, we can play beyond what the expectancy is of our sport.’ So, I think it’s a pretty cool thing. We got guys that are 36 on our team. And you look at RJ [Richard Jefferson], he is in better shape than anyone on our team. And you got James Jones as well. So, I think it’s been great to be around guys like that.”

It has also been great for James to be around younger stars like Kyrie Irving, 24, and Kevin Love, 27, since they can help carry the Cavs. Toward the end of James’ stint with the Miami HEAT, it was clear that he was having to do a lot of the heavy lifting and that the rest of the Big Three – Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – as well as Miami’s supporting cast were declining as they aged.

By teaming up with Irving and Love at this stage in his career, James not only extended his championship window but also may have extended his playing days as well.

“In these playoffs, you can kind of see he’s not looking to do a lot,” Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue told ESPN. “In the fourth quarter, if he has to take over a game he will, but he’s playing a lot through Kyrie, a lot through Kevin, a lot through other guys making their shots. He’s just making the right play. It’s not a lot of pressure, not a lot of strain on his body to have to make every single play like he has in his career.

“With that being said, he can play more minutes. He can focus on more on defense and not take minutes off the defensive end. It’s been great for him. You could tell. He’s just really feeling the game out. If there’s a part in the game when he has to take over, he’ll take over.”

It may seem strange to talk about James’ retirement, especially when he’s producing at such a high level recently, but it’s clear that the four-time Most Valuable Player has given it some thought.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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