Rich Paul believes LeBron James will play 2-3 more seasons in the NBA

LeBron James, Lakers

Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports

As Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James approaches the end of his 21st NBA season, questions are once again being asked about how long he will continue to play.

After the Lakers lost in the Western Conference Finals last year, James asked himself the same question, and considered retirement for the first time in his career.

He eventually decided to return to the Lakers for another year and continued to play at the NBA level, even scoring a career-high from the three-point line. Add to that LeBron's well-known desires to play with his son Bronny, who could enter the NBA this year, and it's reasonable to believe that the 2023-24 season will not be James' last.

How many more seasons the 39-year-old will play remains a question, and his agent and close friend Rich Paul of Klutch Sports answered that in an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio Before Monday's Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets:

“Yes, you know, I think so,” Paul said when asked if LeBron would play next season. “Look, I think we've definitely had fewer years with LJ than we've actually been able to enjoy. But I think there's a world out there, you know, where a guy commits more than half his life to the game of basketball. I think he treated it with the utmost respect and was someone who gave back to the game “I think we put pressure on him differently than we put on others and expectations since he was 18. Obviously there was no development for him, there was no patience, there was none of that, and he was still capable On setting himself and succeeding obviously he was the first NBA player to kind of quote, “I'm going to do what I want to do” and I don't think people necessarily like that because in sports, we're used to having the mentality of, “Oh, you've got to do what. This other person did it because this other person was a star, and this other person did it this way, so you should do it this way.” But imagine if we did that in science. We wouldn't have as many treatments and tools to heal and do different things that we do. It's in life and so I think it's okay to let someone be themselves. I get it. And I'm not saying that biased because by the way, I'm LeBron's biggest critic, you know? When I have a problem, especially on the basketball court, I stand in front of him and we talk about it. So I don't take any of my friends I represent lightly because I already know the game, I don't look at the stats and tell you how great you were the next morning. I understand if I've done something right or wrong, and we develop that and work on it in the summer and come back and get better. But I think, to answer your question, yeah, I think we see him, I don't know how much time we see him play but my conversation with him is just having fun. Just enjoy it because you have a lot less years to play than you already have. So enjoy the ride man, it was a nice ride. I suspect [Brian] Scalabrini, who played against LeBron, probably has a thousand stories and I think when it's all said and done, they'll be a group of people with a thousand stories or what he means to the game. Some may have hated it, some may have loved it, but that's just part of being a competitor. But he's had an unbelievable career and I think we'll see him next year. Now, how much later, I don't know. But I think he probably has two or three years left in the tank, maybe.

Once the Lakers' season is over and James decides to play in the 2024-2025 season, the question then becomes which team. He has the ability to opt out of his contract with the Lakers if he wants, and if Los Angeles is eliminated in the first round, one option would be to test free agency to see if he can find a better team that gives him a chance to compete for the No. 5 spot. championship.

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All signs point to James wanting to stay at Laker even though his family of course lives in Los Angeles, so it would take a special chance for him to leave that behind for a season or two.

Regardless, when this season comes to a close for the Lakers, James will have a lot of things to resolve when it comes to his future.

LeBron James: Anthony Davis has nothing left to prove

The only thing that might keep LeBron James with the Lakers beyond this season is his relationship with Anthony Davis, with whom he of course won a championship in 2020.

Davis continues to play at an extremely high level for the Lakers, so much so that James recently said he no longer has anything to prove to anyone.

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