LeBron James Urged to Ditch Lakers for Eastern Conference Contender

The Los Angeles Lakers fought hard but couldn’t stay alive against the Denver Nuggets. The team ended up losing in five games and the season is officially over.

It’s set to be yet another eventful offseason for the Lakers. Every offseason since the team signed LeBron James has been filled with rumors. That’s not going to change this offseason. Fresh off of his fourth straight early playoff exit with the Lakers, there’s bound to be speculation that he’s ready to jump ship.

The New York Knicks appear to be a team that is closer to being a contender than the Lakers are and James has frequently flirted with the idea of playing with the franchise. Fox Sports’ Nick Wright thinks it would be a good idea for James to jump ship to New York.

“I think he would fit in that Julius Randle spot quite well. I also think four rings for four franchises would be unbelievable,” Wright said on the April 30 episode of “The Herd.”

The Knicks are still playing right now but it feels like they don’t have enough to compete for a championship quite yet. James is the type of player who could get them over the hump. He can opt out of his contract this offseason so that makes it easier for New York to figure out how to get him if the interest is mutual. ef

.@getnickwright’s wish? LeBron James to the New York Knicks…

“I think he would fit in that Julius Randle spot quite well. I also think four rings for four franchises would be unbelievable.” pic.twitter.com/XTsP9MK3Y0

— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) April 30, 2024

LeBron James is Going to Be Patient

The Lakers don’t have much leverage when it comes to James this offseason. He has a player option on his contract so he’ll control where he plays next season. He’s 39 and doesn’t have many seasons left.

According to Shams Charania, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic, he’s going to wait to see what the Lakers do in the coming months before he makes any drastic decisions.

“It’s anticipated James, ahead of his June 29 option date, will want to see how the Lakers manage the offseason and their approach to building the roster around him and Davis,” Charania, Buha and Amick wrote in an April 29 column. “Both routes — opting in and opting out — are on the table for James. He places importance on having comprehensive and well-rounded depth around him, which could mean the Lakers explore trades in the lead-up to that player option, sandwiched between the NBA Draft, which begins June 26, and the opening of free agency on June 30.”

It sounds like James is open to returning to Los Angeles but the team needs to make sure it’s set up to win.

Los Angeles Lakers Want LeBron James Back

The Lakers could also decide that it’s time to rest things and start building around younger players. However, that’s not the case, according to The Athletic.

“The Lakers, team sources say, would be open to discussing any deal that involves James coming back — including even the maximum three-year, $164 million extension they can offer. Playing through a three-year deal would put him at 42 by the end of the contract,” Charania, Buha and Amick wrote.

The Lakers don’t think the playoff losses in recent years have anything to do with James.

“He’s not the problem here,” a high-ranking Lakers official said of LeBron, per The Athletic.

Regardless, the Lakers will still need to convince James it’s in his best interest to stay.

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