LeBron James

LeBron James' Next Team Odds: Will He Remain With Lakers?

With the opportunity to opt out of his current contract, there remains a possibility that LeBron James may elect to depart the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, although oddsmakers would lead you to believe that the chances are incredibly slim.

The Lakers are the odds-on favorites to retain James' services, whether he decides to play out the final year of his deal, or decline and become an unrestricted free agent. His former teams in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat are next, but neither franchise has greater than 7.5-to-1 odds to acquire the 39-year-old veteran superstar. 

Next Team LeBron James Signs 2024-25 NBA Contract Odds

Los Angeles Lakers-370
Cleveland Cavaliers+750
Miami Heat+1100
New York Knicks+1300
Golden State Warriors+1500
Atlanta Hawks+1900
Chicago Bulls+1900
Philadelphia 76ers+2000
Dallas Mavericks+2600
Los Angeles Clippers+2600
New Orleans Pelicans+2600

Odds as of May 21

Will LeBron James Opt Out Of Current Contract?

James has until June 29 to decide whether or not he wants to opt into his player option of $51.4 million for the 2024-25 season, and if that's the route he chooses to take, it's the slightly more lucrative approach.

There are certainly pros and cons to such a decision, but the biggest plus comes in the form of James becoming extension-eligible on Aug. 18 and possibly inking a two-year extension which would then push his deal to $164 million over three seasons. Should he opt out, however, the biggest contract he could sign with Los Angeles is a three-year, $162-million deal, which is only slightly worse, but it does come with a caveat.

While James has indicated on numerous occasions that he'd prefer to continue donning purple and gold, opting in and then putting pen to paper for an extension means he couldn't have a no-trade clause, unlike opting out and signing a brand-new deal which he could then add at his will. 

The league's collective bargaining agreement and its recently instituted "over-38 rule" prevents the Lakers and James from coming to terms on an agreement beyond three years, as well. 

Should LeBron James Want to remain with lakers?

For the second year in a row, the Lakers ran into the freight train that is the reigning champion and recently eliminated Denver Nuggets with newly-crowned three-time Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic, losing in five games in the opening round of the playoffs. This comes one year after Los Angeles advanced all of the way to the Western Conference finals before getting swept by Denver in four games.

The Lakers fought their way through the play-in tournament on each occasion to just secure a postseason berth, which isn't ideal, but indicative of the depth of the West and how difficult a process it is to even qualify outright. 

Perhaps if Los Angeles had avoided the Nuggets as early as it did, it would still be actively vying to secure James the fifth ring of his already legendary career. Only four games kept the Lakers out of home-court advantage in the first round during the regular season, so the margin for error was razor-thin as the team competed with the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans, and others for positioning. 

James' legacy is secure no matter how his career closes, but the GOAT debates with Michael Jordan will continue to linger, and Jordan captured six titles while James has only four with six Finals losses. Perhaps that doesn't matter, as the minds of many are all made up, but James is a competitor and surely wouldn't mind hoisting Larry O'Brien one more time before it's all said and done. 

If he can accomplish that with the Lakers remains another discussion altogether, but even if he can't, and James comes to terms with that, it may not ultimately matter. He's at a point in his life where comfort, family, finances, and opportunities outside of the sport may play a larger role in his decisions as opposed to which organization can help him win. Los Angeles as constructed is still in the mix, and some fine-tuning over the offseason could strengthen its odds. 

The Bronny James Factor

(Related Link) Bronny James 2024 NBA Draft Odds: Where Will He Land?

There have been instances in other major professional sports in which a father and son competed side by side, notably in Major League Baseball with Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr., as well as the great Gordie Howe with his sons Mark and Marty on the Hartford Whalers in the National Hockey League. It's never happened in the National Basketball Association, though, but LeBron has made it clear he would love to do so with his oldest Bronny before hanging up his sneakers. 

Bronny is eligible to be selected in this year's draft, so the eyes of the basketball world will be watching to see which team could end up giving the 19-year-old prospect a shot and if that affects his father's decision about his own future.

Outside of the obvious name recognition, many draft experts don't anticipate the still-developing Bronny getting picked any earlier than late in the second round, although a surprise team could shock everyone by reaching with the hope of luring LeBron to pair with him.

It's a long shot, but with The King, nothing is ever completely off the table. What can you offer a man who has everything, right? This could be it.

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