Insider With Ties To LeBron James Reveals His Expected Future Plans

By Jason Hall

April 30, 2024

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets - Game Five
Photo: Getty Images

An ESPN NBA insider with strong ties to Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James expects him to test free agency this summer.

Brian Windhorst, who covered James' high school career at St. Vincent-St. Mary Catholic, as well as a beat writer during his stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, said he expects James, 39, to opt out of his $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season.

“I do think LeBron intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent for the first time since 2018,” Windhorst said during an appearance on Get Up hours after the Lakers were eliminated by the defending champion Denver Nuggets during the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs. “I think that will apply a little bit of pressure to the Lakers.”

James dodged questions about his uncertain future with the Lakers during his postgame press conference Monday (April 29) night.

"Um, I'm not going to answer that," he said when asked if the Game 5 loss would be his last as a member of the Lakers.

James signed with Los Angeles in 2018 and led the franchise to its 17th NBA championship -- tied with the Boston Celtics for the most in league history -- in 2020. The Lakers have, however, missed the playoffs twice during James' tenure and been eliminated twice in the first round.

James, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, has also publicly expressed interest in playing with his son, Bronny, who announced his decision to enter the NBA Draft while maintaining college eligibility and simultaneously entering the NCAA transfer portal after one season at USC earlier this month.

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