LeBron James has been leading the Los Angeles Lakers since 2018. It’s not like he has been highly successful with the LA side. Indeed, he won a title with the Lakers in the 2020 bubble championship. But the King has never been more successful with any team other than the Miami Heat. He won a couple of titles with the Heat. However, with the LA side, it has been almost five years that King James has been playing. He has won a title with the Lakers, too. Hence, the record is not too bad. But King James would like to win at least one more title before he hangs his boots. He would not want to end up with only four championships.
It is alright to win four but to add value to the last five years of his career, it would be apt to win one more title. Moreover, LeBron James always says that winning is the biggest motivation. Hence, he would like to end his career on a winning note. But the way last season ended was really humiliating. Despite the Lakers reaching the Western Conference Finals after a miraculous turnaround, the Denver Nuggets blew them away in only four games. The 17-time champions could not win a single game in the WCF. Albeit, LeBron James performed pretty well at the age of 38. Hence, there are five reasons why King James may leave the Lakers sooner than expected.
A. LeBron James’ Contract Expires
The King has two more years remaining in his current contract with the Lakers. He has a player option in the final year. LeBron’s salary will be $47.6 million for the next season. But his player option the next summer is worth $51.4 million. Hence, there is a possibility that James might not stay with the Lakers till the 2024-25 season. He might leave them after the next season.
B. LeBron James Could Just Retire
Moreover, LeBron James can choose any team the next summer as per the player option in the final year of his contract. But what if he just retires after the next season? After the humiliating exit in the WCF last season, James hinted twice at retirement. He might just hang his boots after the next season if the Lakers can’t win the title. He’ll be 39.
C. Lakers Must Contend For The Title
Why Lakers have not been that lucky or successful with King James? It is because they have reached the NBA Finals only once in the last five years. Albeit, they won that final in 2020. But they failed to contend for the title since then. Last season, it looked like they had a good chance, but they blew it. If the Lakers fail again to reach the NBA finals next season, LeBron James might leave right away.
D. Return To The Cavaliers One Last Time
LeBron James started his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He might want to end it with the same franchise. After all, it is his hometown franchise. He returned to the Cavs from the Heat to lead them to their first title success. What if the King gets to win his coveted fifth title with his hometown franchise? But LeBron James has been the most successful with the Miami Heat. However, King James has not played for the Heat long enough. He has played the longest time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown franchise, for two separate stints. Between those two stints with the Cavaliers, LeBron James played briefly for the Heat and won a couple of titles. After he returned to his hometown franchise, King James helped the Cavaliers win the memorable 2016 championship.
E. Final Goal Is To Play Alongside Son Bronny
LeBron James had one of the longest and most illustrious careers in the league. In his 20th NBA season, he became the new all-time scoring leader. He has four MVPs and four Finals MVPs, along with four championships. That’s a pretty impressive resume. However, King James has been waiting for the moment when his eldest son Bronny debuts in the NBA. He would like to play with his son in the league. That’s the last wish on his bucket list before he retires. Bronny will be eligible in the 2024 draft. Whichever team picks, Bronny will have a high possibility to sign LeBron James. He might decline his player option and become a free agent to sign with the franchise that picked Bronny. What if the Lakers pick Bronny? Then the King won’t go anywhere and might end his career with the LA side.