LeBron James of the Lakers on his future in the NBA after beating the Nets: “I don’t have much time left”

NEW YORK – LeBron James isn’t sure when he’ll retire, but he knows it’s coming soon.

After scoring 40 points and tying his career high with nine 3-pointers in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 116-104 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Sunday, James was asked how long he plans to continue playing in the NBA. .

“Not much,” James said. “Not very long. I’m on the other side, obviously, of the hill. I’m not going to play another 21 years, that’s absolutely certain. But not very long. I don’t know when that door will close or when I’ll retire. But I don’t have any time left. a long time”.

Less than 30 minutes earlier, James, 39, received a standing ovation from a visiting pro-Lakers crowd after putting on a show in the fourth quarter with 17 points and hitting all four of his 3-point attempts.

Brooklyn cut Los Angeles’ lead to just eight points, 90-82, with 11:42 left in the game. James responded by hitting consecutive 3-pointers, and four in total in a five-minute span, to extend the Lakers’ lead to 18 points midway through the quarter.

“It’s unbelievable,” coach Darvin Ham said. “I told him in the meeting before his last leg and we finally replaced him. I’m so thankful I packed the cape for the road trip. “I needed the nine triples.”

In his 21st season, James is inexplicably shooting a career-best 41.6 percent on 3-pointers, up one percent from his previous mark (40.6 percent in 2012-13 with the Miami Heat). James attributed his career year to being healthier (although he is technically still battling peroneal tendinopathy in his left ankle) and being able to get more practice time and shooting reps on days off.

“My foot has felt a lot better,” James said. “I didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy the reps a lot last year because I had to make sure I could be on the court running or (not) hitting the ground with my foot a lot. I have had many opportunities to take to the field. …And I just try to be consistent with my shot, make the same shot every time. And it just works. Just work, work, work, work.”

Anthony Davis, who is in his fifth season alongside James, said he’s never seen him shoot better than against the Nets when considering efficiency (90 percent on his 3-pointers), volume (career-high nine touchdowns ) and difficulty (James hit several off-balance and highly contested shots).

“It’s still surprising,” Davis said of James. “Like I said, the way he was shooting at them, the deflection in the left corner on his side of the court, I mean, he’s doing a double, jumping at it, he’s fading. I mean, tonight I was doing everything from the 3-point line. …It was masterful just to sit here and watch that. He separated us.”

As for his future with the Lakers and in the NBA, James has a $51.4 million player option for next season. He has five realistic options he will weigh this summer:

  • He opts for his contract for next season with the Lakers.
  • Opt to sign up and extend with the Lakers for up to three years and $164 million.
  • Opt out and re-sign with the Lakers for up to three years and $162 million.
  • Opt out and sign with another team for up to three years and $157.5 million.
  • Tome of.

Both James and the Lakers would prefer he retire as a Laker, according to team and league sources.

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(Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)