Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James in his 17th season in the league and is still playing at an elite level. James hasn’t discussed the topic of retirement to any great extent at this point in his career, but that will only grow louder the closer he gets towards the end of his current deal with Los Angeles. He has been an anomaly with his performance on the floor, which has tabled the conversation around that subject. However, his former longtime teammate and close friend Dwyane Wade has thrown out the suggestion of how much longer he believes James could play in the NBA.
LeBron James’ 2019-20 campaign
In the months heading into this season, there were questions around James’ ability to continue to play at an elite level. He was coming off an injury-plagued 16th year that saw him miss a significant amount of time on the floor.
James has answered the bell with a vengeance as he has put together another highly impressive campaign. He is currently 11th with 25.1 points along with being first with a career-best and league-high 10.7 assists per contest while shooting 49.1% from the floor. That has helped him earn his 16th All-Star Game selection while he’s coming off winning Western Conference Play of the Month for January after averaging 25.4 points, 10.4 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per contest.
The 35-year-old hasn’t shown any notable drop off in his game by means as he continues to prove that he’s in the conversation for the best player in the league. His longevity has been quite impressive while he’s been one of the driving forces towards pushing the Lakers to the top record in the Western Conference and are considered legitimate title contenders.
With all that in mind, the inevitable question about retirement will come into greater focus in the coming years.
Dwyane Wade’s timetable for LeBron James
Throughout the years, Wade has developed an incredibly strong relationship on and off the court with James. The two spent four years together with the Miami Heat and half a season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Beyond that, they have become quite close friends away from the game, which has given Wade a strong feel for James’ thought process. With that in mind, the future Hall of Famer recently suggested that he believes the four-time league MVP could play at least four more years if he wanted to do so, according to Brian Sozzi of Yahoo Finance.
“[LeBron is] still top of his game. He has got a couple years where he ain’t got to be at the top of his game but still be good enough. I get another four years,” Wade, 37, said in a wide-ranging interview discussing his upcoming ESPN documentary “Life Unexpected.”
That would put James at age 40 if he chose to extend his career that far down the line. It’s clear that Wade has no question that the 16-time All-Star could main his high level of play throughout the rest of his career however much longer that may be.
How much longer will LeBron James play?
At this point, there is no indication of how much longer James will continue to play in the NBA. He has shown that he has plenty left in the tank to play at a high level, and there is no reason to be that will change any time soon given his commitment to his body and health over the years.
The only real question may be whether James will play another contract with the Lakers. He’s currently in the second season of his four-year, $153.3 million deal that has a player option for the final year. There has been some lingering chatter that he could entertain the possibility of playing with his son, LeBron James Jr., if that scenario presents itself.
Only time will tell what James will decide to do when that time comes in his illustrious career.