Bold move could make surprise team favorites to lure LeBron James away from Lakers

The Lakers may lose LeBron James if Daryl Morey pulls off this bold move.
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have disappointed this season, which has kick-started the rumor mill. LeBron James and company will be in the Play-In Tournament but went from there to the conference finals in 2023. They could repeat the feat and silence their critics. It does not feel likely, but crazier things have happened.

If the Lakers make an early postseason exit, LeBron will seek changes. He wants to remain in Los Angeles and has a $51.4 million player option next season. The opt-out gives James a bit of leverage. He turns 40 later this year and wants one final chance to contend for a championship.

Other franchises will be ready if the Lakers are bounced quickly, but only one may be bold enough to use his son as a ploy to get him to join their franchise. See what an executive thinks and how the Philadelphia 76ers could be LA’s biggest threat to keeping LeBron James.

Daryl Morey would draft Bronny if he thought it improved his odds of landing LeBron James

Bleacher Report detailed the scenarios of LeBron opting out of his contract. He is unlikely to be playing for the mid-level exception next season, so whatever team attempts to convince him needs cap space. The Philadelphia 76ers have just Joel Embiid under guaranteed contract for the 2024-25 campaign. Eric Pincus reports James does not to join the Sixers for a title chase, but an Eastern Conference executive had this to say about Morey drafting Bronny to improve their odds.

"If someone were going to do it, it'd be Daryl."

Morey is known for star chasing and doing so at all costs. Chris Paul outed him for lying about a trade, and fans remember the James Harden saga last summer. Morey would certainly draft Bronny, despite his on-court struggles, if he thought it gave the Sixers a serious chance at signing LeBron in free agency.

The Lakers are favorites to draft the younger James. He struggled during his lone college season as he returned from cardiac arrest. Bronny is only 19 years old and far from a finished product. He has NBA talent but would need multiple years to develop into a rotation player.

LeBron James has talked about playing with his oldest son in the NBA for years. It would be a dream come true for the GOAT. LeBron does not have much left to accomplish on the floor. Playing with his son could be the last box to check before hanging up his sneakers, so do not be surprised to see Daryl Morey and the 76ers draft him before the Lakers get an opportunity.

That does not guarantee King James leaving LA. He wants to play for the Lakers and will stay with the franchise for as long as it makes sense. Do not be surprised to see him sign an extension this summer, but teams will still try to convince him to leave Hollywood. Drafting his son is likely the only shot any franchise has, so stay tuned to see where Bronny lands. The safest bet is both James staying in Los Angeles.