Lakers’ LeBron James Opting Out, Perhaps Opening Pathway For Free Agent Targets

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James intends to opt out of of his $51.4 million contract and become an unrestricted free agent, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

James, 39, is widely expected to re-sign on a new deal and give the Lakers the chance to perhaps sign a free agent, per Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report/TNT.

“(James) is considering opening up a pathway for the team to obtain the full midlevel exception for the right targets,” Haynes wrote.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, James and star big man Anthony Davis want the Lakers to acquire “another elite player.”

“James has the leverage that comes with his forthcoming free agency, as he has until Saturday to decide whether to pick up his $51.4 million player option or opt out and sign a new deal (with the Lakers or elsewhere),” Amick wrote. “Davis, meanwhile, has the organizational capital that comes with being a 31-year-old, nine-time All-Star who is signed through the 2027-28 season. And if the franchise cornerstones had their way, league sources say, the Lakers would prove their desire to win this week by going all-in for another elite player.”

The Lakers just recently hired JJ Redick as head coach. They drafted Tennessee wing Dalton Knecht with the No. 17 overall pick, then Bronny James, LeBron’s son, at No. 55.

James and Davis have been teammates since 2019-20. The Lakers won the 2020 title, lost in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, missed the 2022 playoffs, lost in the 2023 Western Conference Finals and lost in the first round of this year’s postseason. 

According to Amick, Shams Charania and Jovan Buha, Redick is focused on elevating Davis’ involvement and alleviating James’ workload. James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, turns 40 in December.

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