Lakers rumors: Rich Paul creates more questions around potential LeBron James retirement

NBA super agent Rich Paul was appropriately vague when asked about LeBron James’ potential retirement. 

Rich Paul and LeBron James have built a basketball empire together with Klutch Sports. The childhood friends turned business partners have a close working relationship. One has to imagine Paul has intimate knowledge of James’ mindset when it comes to a potential retirement.

James first floated the idea of retiring after the Nuggets swept the Lakers out of the Western Conference Finals. Some speculated that James simply wanted to keep the spotlight situated on him, rather than the Nuggets. Others figured it was a ploy to pressure the front office into signing Kyrie Irving. Others, of course, took him at his word.

No matter which camp you fall in, it’s impossible to ignore the magnitude of the possibility. James is the greatest basketball player of his generation, maybe even all time. At 38 years old, he dropped 40-9-9 in the Lakers’ elimination game. He has gas in the tank. The question is, at least for James: how much?

Rich Paul kept his answer about LeBron James’ potential retirement vague

When asked about the possibility of James’ retirement, Rich Paul played coy with’s Chris Fedor.

“I have an expectation just as you do,” said Paul. “We’ll see.”

Of course Paul isn’t going to divulge LeBron’s plans, but it’s hard to imagine James is keeping his decision so thoroughly under wraps, especially in the presence of close friends and business associates. As for what Paul’s supposed expectation is, we’ll never know. The general consensus around the league seems to be that James will return for his 21st season.

LeBron may no longer be the best player in the world, but he made his 19th consecutive All-Star appearance last season while averaging 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 6.8 assists on 50.0 percent shooting. He made third team All-NBA.

James is under contract through at least the 2023-24 season, in which he’s scheduled to make $46.9 million. He has a player option worth $50.6 million in 2024-25, theoretically the year his son enters the NBA. If James were to retire or opt out to play with his son, 2024 feels like the more logical time. That is, unless he’s truly, simply ready to hang em up.