Lakers’ Anthony Davis seemingly unaware about LeBron James’ retirement talk

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis apparently was out of the loop when it came to LeBron James’ talk Monday night of possible retirement.

While James was telling ESPN he would have to consider the possibility of walking away, Davis, 30, was talking to a larger contingent of media and in part addressing his future with the Lakers and 38-year-old James.

“We don’t know what team we have next year,” Davis said after the Denver Nuggets completed a sweep of the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. “But whatever it is, whoever we have coming to training camp with the mindset of building that chemistry, building that foundation, me and LeBron setting the tone, trying to get back here and further.”

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James was a driving force in the Lakers signing Davis in December 2020 to a five-year, $190 million contract. The idea was for the two stars to win multiple championship rings.

So far they have won one title – during the 2019-2020 season, shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. James will turn 39 in December.

“Yeah, we know the window is always small and obviously he’s not getting any younger,” Davis said. “You know, this is why this was so important to both of us, and it hurts that we didn’t get it done.  But you know, we regroup, figure out ways we can be better.  Figure out ways I can be better, more consistent for our ballclub and we come back next year ready to go.”

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‘Bron was incredible’

Lakers forward LeBron James goes up for a layup against Nuggets center Nikola Jokic during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at Arena in Los Angeles on May 22, 2023.

Lakers forward LeBron James goes up for a layup against Nuggets center Nikola Jokic during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at Arena in Los Angeles on May 22, 2023.

Aaron Gordon’s face registered shock. It was midway through the first quarter and James fired an alley-oop pass intended for Rui Hachimura.

Instead, the ball sailed directly into the basket.

Three-pointer, LeBron James!

With a little luck and a lot of skill, James was virtually unstoppable in the first half, scoring 31 points on 11-for-13 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 shooting from 3-point range.

But Gordon, who’d been the primary defender on James, got help from teammates in the second half, during which James shot 4 for 12 from the floor and 0 for 3 from 3-point range.

And with 1.1 seconds left, Gordon blocked James’ 5-footer that likely would have forced overtime.

“He was just dominating the game,” Nuggets center Nikola Jokic said. “But we found a way to make him take tough shots or just not easy layups or just not open shots.”

Added Gordon, “Yeah, Bron was incredible. He is. But it took a collective unit of just coming together and trying to cut his water off to give ourselves an opportunity to get back into the game and then win it.”

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James had just nine points in the second half.

Tip of the cap for Jokic

After the game, James literally tipped his cap to Jokic.

James began to extol the virtues of the Serbian center and two-time NBA MVP.

” … when you have a guy like Jokic, who as big as he is but also as cerebral as he is, you can’t really make many mistakes versus a guy like that,” James said. “And even when you guard him for one of the best possessions that you think you can guard him, he puts the ball behind his head Larry Bird style and shoots it 50 feet in the air and it goes in, like he did four or five times this series.

“So you do like this to him.”

James lifted the cap off his head and tipped it. Jokic learned of the gesture during his own news conference when a reporter asked Jokic about an off-balance 3-pointer he made with 2:50 left to play.

“Being off balance, I’m off balance my whole life, so that’s kind of normal for me,” said the Joker.

How good are the Nuggets?

The Nuggets’ sweep did not reflect the closeness of the games, each of which featured the Lakers within striking distance in the fourth quarter.

In Game 1, the Lakers had a chance to tie the game with 45 seconds lefts when James launched a 27-footer. He missed and the Lakers ended up losing, 132-126.

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In Game 2, the Lakers pulled within two points with 1:07 left before losing 108-103.

In Game 3, the Lakers went up 94-93 with 7:48 to play before Denver pulled away for a 119-108 victory.

And in Game 4, the Lakers trailed by two when James’ potential game-tying shot was blocked by Gordon.

“That team, the Lakers, have no quit in them at all, and we knew that,” Gordon said.

That other team, the Nuggets, wow. Jokic and Murray proved they might be as good a tandem as there is in the NBA. Surrounded by an exceptional supporting cast.

“Me and AD were just talking in the locker room for a little bit,” he said. “I think we came to the consensus this is, if not one of the best teams, if not the best team we’ve played together for all four years. Just well orchestrated, well put together.

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“They have scoring. They have shooting. They have play-making. They have smarts. They have length. They have depth.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lakers’ Anthony Davis missed LeBron James’ retirement talk

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