NBA-LeBron James tight-lipped amid questions about his playing future

FILE PHOTO: Jan 30, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) checks himself after being called for a foul during the game against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James refrained on Saturday from committing to his team beyond the current NBA season.

The four-time NBA champion has a player-option for the 2024-25 NBA season, which gives him the power to decide whether to stay with the Lakers for another year or become an unrestricted free agent.

James sparked speculation about his playing future when he posted an hourglass emoji on his social media account following his team's blowout loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday and ahead of the NBA's Feb. 8 trade deadline.

In his first interview since the social media post, the 39-year-old was asked on Saturday ahead of his team's game at the New York Knicks if he has spent time thinking about the contract decision he will need to make in the close season.

"No," said James, whose Lakers are ninth in the 15-team Western Conference with a 25-25 record.

The NBA's all-time leading scorer sat out the Lakers' 114-105 win against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday with a sore ankle.

With just over two months left in the regular season, James did emphasize the need for his team to become more consistent down the stretch as they hope to keep pace in a tight Western Conference playoff race.

"If we can play some good basketball, string a couple wins together, and not be so Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on any given night, then we'll be OK," said James.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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