Lakers Notes: James, Pelinka, Reaves, Russell, Thompson, Hachimura

LeBron James hinted at retirement following the Lakers’ elimination from the postseason on Monday night. General manager Rob Pelinka said on Tuesday that James has earned the right to do whatever he wants with the career, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“LeBron has given as much to the game of basketball as anyone who has ever played,” Pelinka said. “When you do that, you earn a right to decide whether you’re going to give more. … Obviously, our hope would be that his career continues, but we want to give him the time to have that inflection point and support him along the way.”

Pelinka said that he and coach Darvin Ham would talk things over with James in the coming days, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.

The Lakers have only five players under contract next season, with just three on guaranteed contracts, and Pelinka gave a strong hint he’d like to retain many of the team’s free agents.

“We ultimately got knocked out by a team that has great continuity,” Pelinka said. “They’ve got a group of players that have been together for several seasons, and it shows in the way they play. We feel like we’ve got special players in the locker room that enjoy playing with each other. We know there’s more growth and improvement in that group, especially if we get a training camp together.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Austin Reaves, headed to restricted free agency, said he’d like to stick around, Lakers reporter Mike Trudell tweets. “I want to be here. It feels like home to me, in a sense … the way the fans support me. Players, coaching staff, front office,” he said. “This is definitely somewhere I want to be, but we’ll see what happens.”
  • The Western Conference Finals didn’t go well for unrestricted free agent, D’Angelo Russell. He struggled with his shooting and got removed from the starting five in Game 4. However, he labels his second stint with the Lakers a “complete success,” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets. “I really can’t complain about anything except the ball going in when I wanted it to,” Russell said.
  • Tristan Thompson, who played 10 minutes in Game 4, would also like to return as he heads to free agency, Trudell tweets. “I’m all about winning. I’m two feet in for whatever the team needs. I love it here,” he said.
  • Rui Hachimura, who will be a restricted free agent, says his experience with the Lakers since being traded from Washington was “one of the best moments,” the team tweets. “I learned a lot of things from LeBron, AD, the coaches,” he said. “It was great for my career.”
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