LeBron James free agency: Lakers star unlikely to leave Los Angeles before 2024, per report

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The Los Angeles Lakers won an NBA title in 2020, but things haven’t been super smooth since. The Lakers lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2021, and they missed out on the playoffs entirely last season. However, despite the team’s recent struggles, star forward LeBron James remains committed to the organization, and is unlikely to leave any time before 2024, according to Marc Stein. Why 2024, you might ask? That’s when James’ son, Bronny, will become eligible to enter the NBA Draft. James has previously expressed a desire to play on the same squad as his son. 

From Stein: 

Sources briefed on the matter stress that James is extremely happy in Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ back-to-back rocky seasons. He and his family, by all accounts, have grown increasingly entrenched in Southern California since James signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018.  

The prevailing thinking in league circles holds that only the chance to play elsewhere alongside son Bronny James, who will be eligible for the 2024 draft and continues to develop as an NBA prospect, would spur LeBron to push for an L.A. exit.  

James, who is currently set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, will become eligible to sign an extension with the Lakers starting on Aug. 4. He won’t have to rush to sign an extension, though, as he could sign it at any point throughout the upcoming season, or afterward. Given Stein’s reporting about James being “extremely” happy in L.A., it certainly seems likely that at some point he’ll agree to continue his career there.

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In order to remain in L.A. through 2024, James will have to add at least one more season to the end of his current contract. Perhaps he’ll sign a two-year deal that includes a player option for the second season that would allow him to leave the Lakers and join Bronny on a team if he makes it to the league. 

It will be interesting to see if James signs an extension right away, or if he waits on the decision. Maybe he’ll want to see how the Lakers look out on the court before making a longer commitment. After the way the team has looked over the past couple of seasons, it would be tough to blame him. 


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