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Paul Pierce: “I think this is going to be LeBron’s last year”

Photo: Peter Baba

Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce believes that LeBron James will retire after the upcoming season.

Pierce speculates that LeBron will use the season to team up with his eldest son, Bronny, and mentor him through the ins and outs of the NBA.

“I think this is going to be LeBron’s last year,” Pierce said on Undisputed. “This is going to be him enjoying his last year with his son. Just being able to be with him every day, show him the ins and outs of NBA travel, the habits you got to have to be a successful NBA player and I don’t think he goes beyond this.”

Pierce emphasized that LeBron’s final year will not focus on winning championships but rather on mentoring Bronny. He likened this father-son dynamic to the Griffeys in baseball, calling it a unique opportunity for LeBron to end his career on a high note.

In the context of the Lakers targeting UConn’s Dan Hurley as their next head coach, Pierce’s comments suggest a potential misalignment between the franchise’s long-term plans and LeBron’s immediate goals.

Pierce added, “It’s not going to be about the coach. It’s not going to be about them winning a championship. Obviously, it’s about the future. It’s about my last year I get to do something that only one other father and son combination was able to do that was the Griffeys in baseball.”

LeBron, who will turn 40 in December, is set to begin his 22nd season in the league. Pierce believes LeBron is content with his career achievements and looks forward to spending his last season with Bronny.

Pierce remarked, “That was a hell of a ride. This is a hell of a ride off into the sun. And he’s going to use that to keep a smile on his face even though the Lakers aren’t going to be competing for a championship as constructed. If something happens to where they get another All-Star or player comes in, that’s icing on the cake.

“I think LeBron is satisfied the way his career has gone. He’s arguably going to go down as 1-2 [of all-time] when it’s all said and done. I just really think this is about LeBron and his son and this is going to be his final year.”

The Lakers hold the No. 17 and 55 picks in this year’s draft, with speculation that they might use the latter to draft Bronny. However, it is not guaranteed that the Lakers will draft him.

LeBron has a player option in his contract for next year, but is expected to decline it and sign new deal. Contrary to Pierce’s speculations, some reports suggest that the four-time NBA champion could play another two or three years.

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