LeBron

Is LeBron Leaving the Lakers this Summer a Real Possibility?

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With the 2024 NBA All-Star weekend right around the corner, many have shifted their focus to the break and final stretch of the season. On Wednesday, a report from ESPN would not only grab the attention of the basketball world but have many looking beyond this season. In this report from Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the Golden State Warrior made a bid for LeBron in the final of the trade deadline. The Lakers and LeBron were unwilling to discuss a deal, but the Philadelphia 76ers had asked about LeBron as well. The Lakers would end up not making any moves at the deadline, something that surprised many given all the rumors they were in. With LeBron having a player option this summer, could he sign another short-term deal, or could he truly leave the Lakers? 

The Lakers have struggled so far this season, currently sitting at 30-26, ninth in the West. The team has struggled on both sides of the ball, having a bottom half of the league offensive and middle-of-the-pack defense. Multiple players have missed time, including LeBron who has missed a handful of games. Since winning the In-Season Tournament, the Lakers have gone 16-17, with many calling for trades and frustration with the team overall. The Lakers were linked to several stars including Zach Lavine and Dejounte Murray, with no trades coming from the team. 

This summer will be a big summer for LA, not only trying to focus on the now but the future at the same time. Recent rumors suggest the Lakers’ number one trade target would be Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young. Signing Young, the hope would be to not only keep the Lakers a championship contender with LeBron (if he stays) but to keep the team a contender post-LeBron.

Another situation looming over LeBron’s future is the potential draft of his son, Bronny James. The USC guard has been seen by many around the league as a key part of LeBron’s NBA future, with LeBron himself saying he wants to play with his son. With most mock drafts seeing Bronny more likely to go in the second round, some around the league believe drafting Bronny would help a team land LeBron. Reports have suggested that the Lakers would be willing to trade future draft capital to land Bronny, something that has divided Lakers fans. 

With the Lakers already having limited draft capital to trade as well as keeping certain players off the trade block, the major concern is sacrificing the post-LeBron era for another year or two of LeBron. The team is already struggling this season, and with LeBron turning 40 this year, the expectation is that the performance of LeBron and Lakers will start to decline. 

The biggest talking point of LeBron’s future is his contract. Currently signed to a 1+1 deal, LeBron has a $51 Million player option for the 2024-25 season, a number that very few teams could offer. Any team attempting to trade for LeBron (in the scenario he opts in and wants a trade to a new team or where Bronny gets drafted) would have to make a Godfather-like offer to make the trade happen. For now, LeBron’s future will be one of the key stories for the rest of the 2023-24 season. The second the season ends, the biggest story will be the potential shift a LeBron move could cause.

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