LeBron James Declines Player Option

LeBron James opts out, explores free agency

by Nouman Rasool
LeBron James Declines Player Option
© Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James has sparked NBA retirement rumors yet again. After the Los Angeles Lakers lost in last year's Western Conference Finals to fall short of a 10th career NBA Finals appearance, James hinted at potential retirement after his 20 seasons in the league.

But he came back last season for another huge year, proving all the naysayers wrong about getting up there in age. The scenario changes a bit this year and that is because LeBron James isn't considering retirement but possibly leaving the Lakers.

He had a $51+ million player option for the summer, but most felt he would ultimately decide not to pick that up in order to either sign another deal with Los Angeles or test free agency. While it was far from an exit, the tone certainly shifted when Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that LeBron James declined his player option and would be a free agent.

The Lakers are expected to offer LeBron James whatever contract Los Angeles the icon wants, including a max three years/$164 million extension.

LeBron James Championship Quest

Turned 39 and entering his 22nd season, James appears poised to play at least two more.

He wants to win championships, and his window is far from closed; therefore the onus remains on the Lakers front office to strengthen a roster in order for him too. It will be worth tracking whether James inks an extension before Lakers top brass such as Rob Pelinka cement their offseason strategy or if he holds off to gauge the team's long-term fit.

That could change with his son, Bronny James getting drafted by the Lakers while his friend and podcast co-host JJ Redick was named head coach. The moves further indicate that James is going to stay put in Los Angeles for the remainder of his career.

Lebron James