Lakers’ LeBron James Expected To Make This Bold Contract Move

LeBron James, Lakers, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a huge victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in their NBA Play-In Tournament earlier this week. The win resulted in them earning the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and a matchup with the defending champion Denver Nuggets in the first round.

The Lakers have a tall task to get past Nikola Jokic and company, as the Nuggets swept them in the Western Conference Finals in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Things didn’t get any better during the regular season, as Denver won all three matchups.

While all of the team’s focus is on the task at hand of defeating the Nuggets, some people have already turned attention to the 2024 NBA offseason. This is going to be a big one for the Lakers, as LeBron James is likely going to hit the open market.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: LeBron James & Los Angeles Lakers Updates

James has made it clear that he wants to end his career playing with his son, Bronny. Bronny officially declared for the 2024 NBA Draft after his freshman season at USC but retained the flexibility to return to college if he chooses and entered the transfer portal.

If he sticks in the draft and a team selects him, James could opt to follow his son wherever he lands. That would be a worst-case scenario for Los Angeles, as one Western Conference executive is expecting a bold move during negotiations from James.

“I think that is a foregone conclusion,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports. “I think he will opt out, he will want the full option they can give him (a three-year, $162 million contract) and they will have to put in the (no-)trade clause, too.”

No-trade clauses in the NBA are very rare. Bradley Beal received one from the Washington Wizards during negotiations on his new contract in 2022, but very few players in the league have a full no-trade clause.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: LeBron James & Los Angeles Lakers Updates

You wouldn’t know that by how some players relay trade demands to their teams with preferred landing spots. But, NBA teams, for the most part, can trade a player wherever they want. Alas, the executive believes that James has earned the no-trade clause he may seek.

“Look you do not trade LeBron James at this point in his career if you do not know that it is something he wants,” the executive said. “He’s not a fourth-year mid-rotation guy here. He’s LeBron James. He’s earned it. So the Lakers, if they were going to trade him, would always make sure they go to him first and get his stamp on it. So a no-trade clause, it just formalizes what’s already going on.”

It will be interesting to see how the offseason plays out for James and the Lakers. He has made his goals for the remainder of his career clear and has admitted he doesn’t have much longer to be an NBA player. This could be the last contract that we see James sign before retirement.

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