Lakers hoping LeBron James decides to continue career
All but one player on the Los Angeles Lakers reported to the practice facility for an exit interview with coach Darvin Ham and vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka on Tuesday.
LeBron James, a day after telling ESPN he will consider retirement this summer after being swept out of the Western Conference finals, is being afforded all the time he needs from his team to contemplate his future.
"We'll look forward to those conversations when the time is right," Pelinka said. "But I will say this, LeBron 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.
"I think sometimes we put athletes, entertainers on a pedestal, but they're humans and just like us.
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."
James' teammates, many fresh off the longest postseason run of their careers, offered a mixture of support and disbelief when asked about him potentially hanging it up after four championships and 10 trips to the NBA Finals.
"It'd be crazy to see him away from the game, especially when I feel like he has a lot more in the tank," D'Angelo Russell said.
Added Troy Brown Jr.: "I feel like that's human nature to be his age and be playing at the level that he's playing at putting his body through that much work.
I mean, I don't blame him for feeling that way. Personally for me, I feel like because of his love of the game, he will continue to play."
The Lakers season started with five straight losses in the regular season and ended with four straight losses to the Denver Nuggets in the conference finals, but Ham said his first year on the job has only set the franchise up for success going forward.