(Los Angeles) Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka expressed hope on Tuesday that LeBron James would continue his career, “even if he’s earned the right” to decide, after casting doubt on his future in the wake of elimination in the playoffs the day before against Denver.

“Coach (Darvin Ham) and I will speak to LeBron in the coming days. We all know he speaks on his own behalf and we look forward to these discussions. He gave basketball more than anyone else. When you do this, you earn the right to decide if you want to give more. Obviously, we hope his career will continue,” Pelinka said at a press conference.

“We sometimes put athletes and artists on a pedestal. But they are human beings and, just like for us, there are turning points in their careers. Our job within the franchise is to support all of the players on our team when they’re at it,” he added.

“In the coming days, we will be in contact with him and his management. We will give him nothing but our support. We obviously hope that his career will continue. But we want to give him time,” he concluded.

James was not present at the Lakers premises during the traditional end-of-season press briefing.

On Monday evening, he concluded his press conference with cryptic words, immediately sparking speculation about a possible retirement at 38: “We’ll see what happens… I don’t know. Personally, when it comes to basketball, I have a lot to think about.”

In the aftermath, ESPN claimed that “LBJ” was indeed thinking about quitting basketball, through the voice of one of his reporters who then spoke with him.

Disappointment, frustration naturally inhabited him after the conceded 4-0 loss to the Nuggets, after a fourth game where he was heroic. He had planted 31 of his 40 points in the first period, beating his personal best in the matter, after 48 minutes.

“You know, after a tough loss like that, I think I was ready to retire last night too,” Ham joked. “But in all honesty and seriousness, LeBron has earned the right to do whatever he wants,” he added.

“I just want to thank him… especially him, for being a constant support for me as a first-time coach. He was the person who supported me the most, informed me the most and helped me communicate the most throughout the year. He was there, in the foreground, for me and my team. So he has earned the right to decide what he wants to do,” Ham insisted.

Pelinka finally indicated that the Lakers hoped to retain the core of the team that ended the season, while building for the future.

“We’re incredibly proud of this group…it will be very important to maintain this continuity,” Pelinka said. “In the end, we were eliminated by a team that was made over time. They have a group of players who have been together for several seasons and it shows in the way they play. So continuity is a priority for us.”