LeBron James NBA Rumors: Possible Lakers Departure in 2024 Offseason

‣ LeBron James has a $51.41 million player option for the 2024-25 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but rumors suggest he might opt out in 2025.
‣ The four-time MVP may end up playing for whichever team drafts his eldest son, USC recruit Bronny James.
‣ The Lakers’ performance has been declining, with the team being outscored by 118 points over a span when James is on the floor, and James’ personal performance also seeing a decline.

Details

NBA rumors are swirling. LeBron James might be packing up his Lakers jersey come 2025. With a hefty $51.41 million player option for the 2024-25 season, it’s not a done deal. He could opt out.

The four-time MVP’s future is tied to a two-year, $99.02 million contract extension inked with Los Angeles in August 2022. But here’s a twist. He might play for the team that drafts USC recruit Bronny James, his eldest son.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst isn’t sure what’s next for LeBron. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen with LeBron in 2025,” he said on Apple Podcasts. “I feel like LeBron is gonna play next year, but I don’t know if it’s gonna be for the Lakers. Probably, but he’s got an opt out.”

Since the Lakers’ NBA In-Season Tournament victory over the Indiana Pacers, LeBron’s been busy. He’s dribbled the ball up the court 30.6 possessions per game. That’s 50% more than he did in L.A.’s first 23 games. His touches per game are up almost 20%, his passes per game are up 23%, and his minutes per game are up more than 8%, per ESPN Stats & Information.

But it’s not all roses. The Lakers have been outscored by 118 points over this span when James is on the floor. It’s his worst plus-minus during a 15-game stretch since joining the Lakers.

An opposing player recently told ESPN, “It’s just too much on Bron right now. Everyone is just going to pack the paint and try to frustrate him because they need a lot. Speed. Playmaking. Shooting.”

The Lakers’ record since the in-season tournament ended isn’t great. They’re 6-12. Los Angeles has been outscored by 94 points over that span when both James and Anthony Davis are on the floor. LeBron’s shooting 11 percentage points less on layups and dunks. The Lakers’ offense ranks 29th in average speed and 28th in the average time walking or standing still, per Second Spectrum tracking.

If the Lakers trade away Davis, might that push James to leave? Davis has only missed two games so far this season, his fewest through 39 games of a season since joining L.A.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka trading Davis seems unlikely. The duo is carrying this team. If he does it, Davis can’t be traded until Tuesday, Feb. 6, two days before the 2024 trade deadline.

Davis is set to make $43.21 million in the 2024-25 season. In August 2023, he also signed a three-year, $177.13 max extension with the club.

So why all this talk? The Lakers aren’t going anywhere, and neither James nor Davis are getting any younger. Los Angeles is 20-21 and ranks 10th in the Western Conference standings.

The Lakers haven’t had 50 or more wins in a season since their 2019-20 championship campaign. It’s not working, the trades aren’t enough, and the time may come when James starts thinking about it.

Could James consider playing for the Los Angeles Clippers at their new Intuit Dome arena next season? That way, the soon-to-be 20-time All-Star could still remain in the City of Angels.

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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