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LeBron James: ‘Hopefully’ career ends as member of Lakers

Feb 18, 2024, 4:40 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2024, 8:16 am

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Western Conference All-Stars reacts in the second qu...

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 18: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Western Conference All-Stars reacts in the second quarter against the Eastern Conference All-Stars during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

In the wake of a head-turning report that the Golden State Warriors looked into acquiring him at the trade deadline, LeBron James said Sunday that he hopes to finish his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers sat in ninth place in the Western Conference at 30-26 when the NBA reached its All-Star Weekend. They have won one championship during James’ time with the team, and they reached the Western Conference finals last year, but it’s unclear how much longer they can be a contender.

James appeared less than pleased with the team when he posted an hourglass emoji to social media before the trade deadline. But before Sunday’s All-Star Game in Indianapolis, James said he is “very happy” in Los Angeles.

“I am a Laker and I’m happy and been very happy being a Laker the last six years and hopefully it stays that way,” James said. “But I don’t have the answer to how long it is or which uniform I’ll be in. Hopefully (it) is with the Lakers. It’s a great organization, so many greats. But we’ll see.”

James also has a player option to stay with the Lakers next season. He could decline the option and become a free agent; he said earlier this month he has not made up his mind about what he will do.

As for the immediate future, James said he will not play the entire game in Indianapolis — which will mark his record-breaking 20th career All-Star Game — as he nurses a left ankle injury.

“The most important thing for me is definitely my health, where I’m at right now, where our team is leaning,” James said. “We’re trending in the right direction.

“Obviously, with our Laker team, it’s been about health all year. Trying to do what’s best for me for the betterment of the team.”

James also said he remains committed to playing for Team USA at the Olympic Games this summer in Paris.

“I told myself before the season when I committed to being a part of the Olympic team, obviously it was all predicated on my health,” he said. “As it stands right now, I am healthy enough to be on the team and perform at a level that I knew I could perform at.”

James has averaged 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists in 49 games this season, his 21st in the league.

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