Insider expects LeBron James to opt out from Los Angeles Lakers contract, test NBA free agency

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Amazingly, LeBron James is still going strong in his 21st NBA season, averaging over 25 points per game. The NBA’s oldest player isn’t supposed to be this good, but elite play is what we’ve come to expect from the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

While James and the Lakers are performing admirably now, it’s possible we’re witnessing his final moments in Los Angeles. Right now, James is earning $47.6 million this season, but his future with the Lakers is uncertain thanks to his $51.4 million player option for 2024-25. It’s up to James whether he exercises that option to stick with the Lakers for one more year or test NBA free agency later this summer.

Yet, NBA insider Brian Windhorst doesn’t believe there’s much of a decision to make. He expects James to become a free agent.

“I think LeBron’s gonna opt out no matter what. And the reason I think he’s gonna opt out no matter what is even if he just signs back for one year, the only functional way for LeBron to get a no-trade clause is to sign a new contract. If he extends the contract he’s in or picks up that option, extends onto it, he can’t get a no-trade clause. And I think for a number of different reasons, LeBron would like, ask for and probably be granted a no-trade clause.”

Brian Windhorst on LeBron James’ free agency plans

James’ son Bronny has already declared for the 2024 NBA Draft, while also entering the transfer portal to keep all his options open. If Bronny receives favorable feedback that suggests he could be drafted higher than anticipated, he may join his dad in the NBA in 2024.

If so, past comments from LeBron have suggested he’d do what he could to team up with his son on the same squad. In other words, if Bronny enters the NBA and doesn’t land with the Lakers, expect LeBron to opt out of his contract so he can play with his son elsewhere.

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