The likelihood of LeBron James leaving Lakers grows with latest report

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

It doesn't even seem possible but LeBron James has had a longer tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers than he did with the Miami Heat. In fact, LeBron's current tenure with the Lakers is also longer than his second tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers and is only one year shorter than his first tenure in Cleveland.

Very few people expected LeBron to be playing at a very high level in 2024 when he signed with the team all the way back in 2018. It looked like LeBron was gearing up for a four-year run at most and he has beyond exceeded those expectations.

This surprising tenure may finally come to and end, though, after the 2023-24 season. The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling this season and do not look like one of the top title contenders in the West. With LeBron having a player option for the 2024-25 season, insiders who know historically have followed LeBron the most are starting to lay the groundwork for him leaving LA.

Nobody has been more plugged into what LeBron has done in his career than ESPN's Brian Windhorst. Windhorst taking the time to say this on his podcast is significant and is something that should not be taken lightly.

LeBron James leaving the Lakers grows in likelihood

A lot can happen between now and the summer when LeBron ultimately has to make his decision but one thing is clear: this situation feels awfully similar to LeBron's last year in Cleveland when everyone expected him to leave and sign with the Lakers.

The reasons are similar, too. Many speculate that LeBron left to join the Lakers for lifestyle reasons. That he and his family could move to Los Angeles and he can figure out the basketball portion of it after. It has worked out nicely for LeBron, who has won a championship, made 'Space Jam: A New Legacy' and has watched his kids grow up in LA.

Now one of those kids, Bronny James, is knocking on the door of playing in the NBA. Bronny is currently playing for the USC Trojans and could be the most intriguing non-lottery draft prospect in NBA history this year.

The table has been set for quite some time now: LeBron wants to play with Bronny and is going to do what it takes to make that happen. If Bronny declares for the 2024 NBA Draft, LeBron is probably just going to sign with whichever team drafts him.

But after Windhorst's comments, there could be a chance that LeBron leaves without taking this route. Let's say Bronny goes back to USC for one more year. LeBron could theoretically sign a one-year deal with a team, say the Dallas Mavericks, to chase a ring with one of his friends before Bronny gets to the league.

It is a very interesting situation and one thing is becoming clear: if the Lakers do not draft Bronny in 2024 then LeBron may be as good as gone.

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