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LeBron James reportedly open to leaving Los Angeles Lakers in free agency

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James found a home with the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing an NBA championship back to the city and reigniting a dormant franchise. But while the future Hall of Famer will likely call Los Angeles home for the rest of his life, he could be thinking about other places to end his NBA career.

James, under contract through the 2023-’23 season is still playing at an MVP-caliber level. While the Lakers are struggling, the 37-year-old forward is averaging 29.1 points per game. Even with nagging injuries, he continues to prove he is one of the best players in the NBA.

Related: Bronny James, LeBron James son, interested in four CBB programs

But there’s a possibility he might not be playing with the Lakers for much longer. With the team widely viewed on the outside of the elite tier, James could find better opportunities to reach the NBA Finals elsewhere. But there is reportedly an even bigger reason for him to pursue opportunities outside Los Angeles.

LeBron likes L.A., he likes raising his family in L.A., and his post-career businesses are in L.A. But he’s made it very clear that he wants to play with his son. If that situation is available outside L.A., he’ll pursue it.”

NBA insider Brian Windhorst on LeBron James’ future, via Chris Sheridan

Bronny James, a junior at Sierra Canyon High School, is rated as the 52nd best recruit in 247 Sports 2023 recruiting rankings. With offers from top programs across the country, the 6-foot-3 combo guard is generating plenty of buzz from scouts and recruiters.

While the NBA is still committed to its one-and-done rule, for now, there is continued debate every offseason about removing it and allowing the top recruits in the country to declare for the NBA Draft out of high school. Even if that new rule isn’t implemented by the time Bronny James graduates, he would become draft-eligible after his first collegiate season.

By that point, James will be a free agent and can decide where he wants to play. If his son develops into an elite prospect and is taken with a top-10 pick, LeBron would likely sign with that team. But if Bronny slips to the latter half of the NBA Draft, multiple teams might feel compelled to draft him so they can also lure in LeBron James.

Related: Charles Oakley says LeBron James ‘will leave again’

The Lakers can enjoy having LeBron through the 2022-’23 season. But thanks to poor roster construction and limited trade assets, there’s a real possibility LeBron leaves when his contract expires.