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LeBron James says he wants to retire with Lakers in “4,5,6,7" years

Charles Barkley tells Michael Holley and Michael Smith why he will always root against the Brooklyn Nets and why he never thought about joining a super team just to win a title.

LeBron James saying he wants to retire with the Lakers should surprise nobody — this always felt like his final move. It put him and his family in the place they want to be post-basketball.

But the last time he counted “four, five, six, seven” it didn’t turn out so well.

LeBron appeared on the Smartless podcast — hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes — to promote “Space Jam 2,” and Arnett asked him about his future with the Lakers. Michael Corvo of Clutch Points listened to the podcast, and credit Silver Screen and Roll for the transcription.

“I truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers. However many years that is, if it’s four, five, six, whatever, seven, I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something... It’s like me being in “Space Jam” — I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem, and Magic, and Wilt, and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe, Shaq and all of them, the whole list goes on.”

None of this is a surprise; it’s LeBron confirming what everyone around the league expects. Of course, in theory, something could come up that would push LeBron to change teams, but it’s improbable.

How well he plays — and, increasingly, how healthy he can stay — remain the questions. LeBron has said he wants to play until his son Bronny is in the NBA, which would be in a couple of years, but he might be able to meaningfully contribute for longer.

LeBron has barely lost a step at age 36 — the man was in the MVP conversation at the midpoint of last season — but he has suffered injuries two of the last three seasons and he has more minutes played, regular and postseason, than Michael Jordan ever had. It’s a lot of miles. While his conditioning, care for his body, and ability to keep his level of play high have been otherworldly, it’s fair to wonder if and when the decline comes. Nobody can play forever.

However much longer LeBron plays, it will be with the Lakers.