LeBron James may be playing last-ever game with Lakers

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers - Game Four / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers avoided being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs with a 119-108 win on Saturday. While that win breathed new life into the series, the Lakers still have a massive hole to climb to extend the team's season past Monday night.

The Lakers are going to have to beat the Nuggets three times in a row (two of which in Denver) after dropping 11 games in a row to the team prior to this win. It is a near impossible task that has many Lakers fans already resigned to the fact that this series is over.

For many, the question is not if the Lakers are going to be eliminated but in what game. And if it happens on Monday night in Game 5 then it will mean that LeBron James may have played his last-ever game with the Lakers on the road.

LeBron James has a questionable future ahead with the Lakers

LeBron James has a player option this offseason that he will almost certainly pick up. Reports circled earlier in the season about LeBron wanting a contract worth at least nine figures, which indicates that he is looking for a deal that is at least three years long.

As great as LeBron is, you cannot blame the Lakers for scoffing at the idea of signing a 39-year-old to a three-year deal. It seems even less pressing to do so if the Lakers do get bounced in the first round of the playoffs against the Nuggets.

If the Lakers had made a deep run to the playoffs then it would have been easier for the front office to convince itself that the team needed LeBron and just needed to add a few more pieces to capitalize on this title window. But with a relatively one-sided first-round loss, those same expectations are not in place and the Lakers can more comfortably turn a page.

That shifts the conversation over to LeBron and what he is going to do this offseason. Will he actually sign a deal with one of the teams that has cap space? Spoiler alert, the teams that can offer him the money he wants are not very good.

Or will he take whatever payment necessary to play with Bronny James, who could be drafted in this year's draft? LeBron has been very open about his desire to play with Bronny and his next team could very simply be whoever drafts his son.

Or will LeBron realize that he is too in love with his LA lifestyle, take a pay cut to stay in Los Angeles, and beg the Lakers to take his son? That is also a conceivable route and is one that could lead him back to LA.

That being said, if this series ends up only going five games, the other options are going to seem more favorable to LeBron. Nothing is guaranteed and there is a lot of drama around the corner but one thing is for certain: Lakers fans need to appreciate LeBron on Monday night. It might be his last time in the purple and gold.