NBA teams becoming convinced LeBron James wants to leave Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When LeBron James’ second tour with the Cleveland Cavaliers wrapped up in 2016, the iconic basketball talent had his choice of which team he wanted to join next. Seeking another chance to win an NBA Championship, the four-time MVP chose the Los Angeles Lakers. A year later, James led the Lakers to their 17th NBA Championship in franchise history.

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But the 2024 Lakers appear nowhere close to competing in the NBA Finals, and now there is increasing speculation that the 39-year-old legend may want another change of scenery.

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LeBron James eyeing other NBA teams?

lebron james
Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No matter where the Los Angeles Lakers end up in the standings, LeBron James will enter the offseason with a massive decision to make on his immediate future. James holds a $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season.

If James wants, he can opt-out and become an unrestricted free agency. Obviously, this would allow James the freedom to pick his next team again. However, it also comes with great risk for an athlete who has already played 21 seasons.

Can James still secure a contract that pays close to a similar rate, either in the short term, or over a multi-year period? Then, there’s the risk of alienating another fanbase. As much as James gave the Lakers, fans can quickly turn sour on a player who no longer believes the team has what it takes to compete, especially if they join a conference rival.

While that may be different for James, a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer, the point remains. Then, there’s the fact that James loves the Los Angeles area, where his son Bronny is currently playing basketball for the USC Trojans. Could LeBron really find another location he prefers more than L.A.?

Rival NBA executives seem to think James is not only thinking about life after Los Angeles, but that he’s eager to slip away from the City of Angels. His son Bronny could be a major factor too.

“Not only are rival executives increasingly convinced that James might want out, but they’re also focused on the Bronny James factor. which continues to loom large. James has been talking for years now about the dream scenario of playing with his oldest son who, if he chooses, can leave USC this summer and enter the draft. The idea, then, is that any team that wants to up its chances of landing James should make it a priority to go after Bronny first.”

NBA insiders from The Athletic provide insight on LeBron James’ future

If James is indeed thinking about playing for another franchise, he may have to take the easy route by opting out of his contract, as the Lakers may not be willing to trade one of the most popular players in franchise history.

Yet, LeBron often has a certain way of getting what he wants, and it’s possible the Lakers show their respect to the 20-time All-Star by helping him find his way to whatever team he desires.

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