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It seems there’s only one way for LeBron James to leave the Los Angeles Lakers anytime soon: team up with his son Bronny.
“The mainstream thinking in league circles holds that only the chance to play elsewhere alongside his son Bronny James, who will be eligible for the 2024 draft and continues to develop as an NBA prospect, would inspire LeBron to push for an exit from Los Angeles,” an NBA insider said. Marc Stein wrote in his latest “This Week in Basketball” column.
James is about to enter the final year of his contract, and there have been rumors that he wants to play elsewhere.
It’s unclear what kind of deal James will seek. If he signs a one-year contract, he will become a free agent when Bronny is eligible to be drafted.
It wouldn’t be surprising if James left the Lakers. Since joining the franchise in 2018, the Purple and Gold have won an NBA title, posted a first-round playoff exit and missed the playoffs twice.
Athletic’s Jovan Buha (h/t Fadeaway World’s Orlando Silva) speculated earlier this month that The NBA Athletic Show that James could leave LA if the Lakers have another disappointing season in 2022-23:
“I will say [it won’t be James’ last season with L.A.], but I think it really depends on Russ and what season they have. …I think if they stick with it and kick things off the season…I could potentially see him leave next offseason, but I expect them to return Russ at some point. And assuming they get Kyrie [Irving] or Buddy Hield or a decent package back for him, I think that’s probably enough to satisfy LeBron and keep him in LA”
James has long said he wants to play at least one NBA season with his son Bronny. He told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic in February that he would play a year with his son.
“My senior year will be played with my son,” LeBron said. “Wherever Bronny is, that’s where I’ll be. I’ll do whatever it takes to play with my son for a year. It’s not about the money then.”
Whether that happens in 2024 or later, James probably won’t be a Laker at the end of his career.