BREAKING: LeBron James Predicted to Sign $162M Contract This Offseason

LeBron James

GettyLeBron James during an April 3 game against the Washington Wizards.

There’s little doubt among the NBA’s fans and personnel that LeBron James will play next season, which would make for the 22nd of his career. But will it be with the Los Angeles Lakers or elsewhere?

James is averaging 25.4 points, 8.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game this season. He has a $51-million player option for the 2024-2025 season.

Greg Swartz predicts that he will decline it, in an April 7 column for Bleacher Report.

He cited one last payday and the money Los Angeles can offer as his primary motivator.

“James is eligible to sign a three-year, $162 million contract to stay with the Lakers if he doesn’t opt into his player option,” Swartz wrote. “The three years is the maximum length allowed due to the over-38 rule.”

Anthony Davis‘s presence also factors into Swartz’s prediction. As well as what James means for a Lakers title chase.

“If James leaves in free agency, he’ll take the Lakers’ title hopes with him,” Swartz added. “After Anthony Davis signed a three-year, $177 max extension with Los Angeles last summer, expect James to sign his own max deal with a player option at the end.”

With retirement as close in sight as it has ever been, LeBron James’ best chances for both a payday and another title remain in Los Angeles with the Lakers.

Potential Destination Options Are Limited

Spotrac’s projected salary cap leaders for the upcoming offseason aren’t exactly a band of title hopefuls.

Swartz noted that James’ only other shot at a payday and potential title run would be with the Philadelphia 76ers.

“If James wants to compete for a championship and make this kind of money,” Swartz wrote on April 7. “The Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers look like the only realistic options for now.”

Philadelphia, who’s seemingly locked into chasing Paul George, is projected to have the second most cap space to work with.

The only team ahead of the 76ers in Spotrac’s projections is the rebuilding Detroit Pistons.

And the Utah Jazz, sitting third on the list, wouldn’t be able to meet the Lakers’ salary offer by a long shot.

Those aren’t the most enticing options for the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Things can change, and they often do. But the only outlier that could sway James’ decision revolves around his son.

Swartz Predicts Bronny to Get Drafted in 2024

LeBron has made it very, very clear that he has every intention of playing in the NBA with his son Bronny.

His son took the first steps to making that a reality on April 5, when he declared for the 2024 NBA Draft.

James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists for a USC Trojans team that finished with the fourth-worst record in the Pac-12.

So it’s understandable that all of the Ringer, The Athletic, and ESPN’s most recent mock drafts don’t have him featured.

But they were published before Bronny’s decision to enter the draft.

Swartz preempted his prediction for LeBron to stay in Los Angeles, with another that his son is drafted in June.

“Expect Bronny to fall into the second round, with teams that have more than one pick in the second day the most likely to take a chance on his upside,” Swartz wrote. “The Indiana Pacers have the most selections (three), currently projected for Nos. 36, 51 and 52 overall.”

Pigs will likely learn to fly actual airplanes before LeBron James plays for the Indiana Pacers. But if a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, or Miami Heat drafted Bronny, he might attempt to join his son.

It’s worth noting that the Los Angeles Lakers are equipped with a second-round pick in the upcoming draft, too. Could they get a discount on LeBron James’ next contract as a byproduct of drafting Bronny?

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