Thanks to many mid-season additions, the Los Angeles Lakers made it into the top 4 in the NBA – but the future of the team around Dennis Schröder, Anthony Davis and LeBron James is completely open.
Even before LeBron James brought an early retirement into play, Anthony Davis sat frustrated and shaking his head in his chair in the Los Angeles Lakers dressing room.
Shortly thereafter, superstar James gave the first hints about his future, national team captain Dennis Schröder also spoke about the prospects after the playoff defeat against the Denver Nuggets on the other side of the room.
Four losses in four games to the Denver Nuggets ended the Los Angeles Lakers’ season in the Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets, led by their strong leader Nikola Jokic, will determine the title in the best basketball league in the world in a duel with the Miami Heat, who are already 3-0 up against the Boston Celtics in their series. And as if all that wasn’t frustration and sadness enough for all fans of the league’s glamor club, James just opened up this one barrel that his supporters fear.
Denver star Jokic convinces again
After a lot of praise for the strong performance of the Nuggets around Jokic, who again hit the most impossible throws at 113:111 in LA and thus helped his team to make up a 15-point deficit at the break in the third quarter, James ended his conversation with the Media may also be very thoughtful – in the truest sense of the word. The question is “whether I want to continue playing,” he said in a brief conversation with a reporter from the US broadcaster, according to ESPN. The journalist had asked James for more clarification on his comments just minutes earlier.
“At this point in my career, I only play to win titles. I don’t get a kick out of being in the conference finals. I’ve been there. A lot. I don’t enjoy it if I’m not a part of it, in to come to the finals,” said the 38-year-old NBA points record holder. “We’ll see what happens. There’s a lot to think about. I don’t know. I have a lot to think about, to be honest. As for basketball going forward for me personally, there’s a lot to think about.”
James has at least one more season with the Lakers, and a second if he wants to. Davis has a valid contract. Quite apart from James’ mind games, however, it is unclear who will wear the legendary jersey in yellow and purple alongside Jarred Vanderbildt and young Max Christie from the 2023/2024 squad, which was completely overhauled in February.
Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell all played their part in the unanticipated success of the record champions, who started the season with just two wins from 12 games and are now among the top four teams. But they all need a new contract and therefore probably cost more money – just like Schröder, who brought many more fans behind him during his second stay in Los Angeles than the first time in 2020/2021 and with his tireless efforts on the defensive was an elementary part of the playoff successes.
Schröder is also thinking about the future
Because the Lakers, like all teams in the NBA, have a salary cap, it seems difficult to have all the relevant professionals on board again in the coming season. “It’s a dream of the future. I think both sides want it, of course,” Schröder told the German Press Agency when asked if he played his last game in the record champions’ shirt.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham is like a family member for him and of course he knows “that I would always play for him, no question,” said Schröder. The Lakers would first have to get the overall situation with the expiring contracts under control. “In the summer, when free agency happens, my agent and adviser will speak to them. And then we’ll see.” When and if Schröder, James and Davis will share a cabin again is open.
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