LeBron James Expected to Seal $162 Million Contract Deal this summer

There is little question that LeBron James will play next season, his 22nd in the league. But will he use his $51 million player option with the Los Angeles Lakers or pursue free agency?

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report anticipated that James would refuse the option and re-sign with the Lakers for a three-year, $162 million contract.

“[F]or someone who has spoken openly about wanting to own an NBA team one day, don’t be surprised if James looks to cash in one last time,” Swartz wrote in a piece published on April 7. “If James wants this deal, can the Lakers really say no?”

Swartz noted that James “looks like a lock” for the All-NBA squad, with a team-best 25.4 points and 8.2 assists per contest. This season, he also averages 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, which is just slightly lower than his career average.

“If James leaves in free agency, he’ll take the Lakers’ title hopes with him,” Swartz stated in an email.

NBA insider thinks LeBron will opt out of Lakers deal, seek no-trade clause - Lakers Daily
Swartz mentioned Anthony Davis’ own maximum deal as a reason for James to stay in Los Angeles.

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.”

Potential Destination Options: Are Limited.

Spotrac’s projected cap space leaders for 2024-25, including the Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz, and Charlotte Hornets, aren’t title contenders.

However, one of the top clubs is the Philadelphia 76ers.

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

WOW: LeBron James Wanted to Play for Cincinnati Bearcats and Bob Huggins

Philadelphia, which appears to be focused on acquiring Paul George, is expected to have the second most cap room to work with.

Spotrac’s estimates show the rebuilding Pistons as the only club ahead of the 76ers.

And the Utah Jazz, ranked third on the list, would be unable to match the Lakers’ salary offer by a long shot.

Swartz predicts that Bronny will be drafted in 2024. LeBron has expressed his desire to play in the NBA alongside his son.

Brian Windhorst on why he thinks LeBron James will opt out of his contract - Yahoo Sports

His son took the initial steps toward making that a reality on April 5, declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft.

James averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.1 assists for the USC Trojans, who finished with the Pac-12’s fourth worst record.

So it’s natural that he’s not included in any of the most recent mock drafts from the Ringer, The Athletic, or ESPN.

However, they were published before Bronny decided to enter the draft.

Swartz preempted his prediction for LeBron’s stay in Los Angeles with another: his son would be picked in June.

Heat, Spurs Emerge as Potential Landing Spots for Bronny James

“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 stated in an email. “The Indiana Pacers have the most selections (three), currently projected for Nos. 36, 51 and 52 overall.”

Pigs will most certainly learn to fly real airplanes before LeBron James plays for the Indiana Pacers. But if a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, or Miami Heat drafts Bronny, he may try to join his son.

In addition, the Lakers have a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. Could they negotiate a discount on James’ next deal as a result of picking Bronny?

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