LeBron James turned heads by admitting he may consider retirement following the Los Angeles Lakers’ exit from the Western Conference finals. This has prompted widespread speculation about James’ future and happiness level in Los Angeles.
Following James’ comments about his future, BetOnline.AG released odds on where James would land if the superstar does not want to return to the Lakers. The Knicks (+300) and 76ers (+300) are the favorites in these odds to potentially pull off a wild trade. The Clippers (+500), Cavaliers (+500), Suns (+800), Warriors (+900), Heat (+1000) and Mavericks (+1000) round out the odds for James.
The good news for Lakers fans is James’ recent two-year, $97 million contract extension does not begin until the 2023-24 season. James is still under contract in Los Angeles for another two years. There is also the Bronny James factor looming over King James’ future.
James’ oldest son is set to begin his college career at USC, just a few miles away from Crypto.com Arena. The idea that James would not only push for a trade but sign off on joining an East Coast team as his son begins his Trojans career is a bit far-fetched.
Lebron James: ‘I’m Simply Not Sure If I’ll Be Back in the Fall When the Season Begins’
James sounded the alarm for the Lakers from office when the superstar teased a potential retirement during an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. It remains to be seen if this is another power move by James in an attempt to push the Lakers to make major roster moves this offseason.
“I’m simply not sure if I’ll be back in the fall when the season begins,” James revealed. “I have a lot to think about.”
Knicks Rumors: Could New York Pull Off a Blockbuster Trade for Lebron James?
The reason the Knicks are one of the favorites is likely tied to James’ longtime infatuation with New York. James took to Twitter in 2020 to share his love for playing in Madison Square Garden.
“Y’all know I love this city,” James tweeted on January 22, 2020. “Was great to be able to give back yesterday. Thing I love most about NYC…playing in the Garden! 🙏🏾👑”
During a June 2020 podcast episode, The Ringer’s Bill Simmons noted that James was the “Knicks to lose” during his famed 2010 free agency. James ultimately opted to sign with the Heat after the star had a poor meeting with the Knicks.
“From everyone I’ve talked to in the know since then, it’s clear that the Knicks were the first choice,” Simmons said at the time. “I’m sorry Knicks fans, earmuffs, it was basically the Knicks to lose and they just couldn’t stay out of their own way and the stories are legendary. All of them are out at this point.
“…Well, they had the legendary meeting. Donnie Walsh was in the wheelchair and [James] Dolan was Dolan. They didn’t have anything prepared, and it just couldn’t have gone worse by all accounts. It was a disaster and I think at that point, combined with the decade the Knicks had just had, I think those guys were just like, ‘F*** it.’”
NBA Exec on Possible Lebron James Trade: ‘He Has an Obligation to Anthony Davis’
Despite all the chatter about James’ future, the most logical outcome is the legend wearing purple and gold again this fall. Back in March, a Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney that Anthony Davis’ presence is one of the major reasons why James is unlikely to push for a trade. James was vocal about his desire to have the Lakers trade for Davis in 2019.
“He has an obligation to Anthony Davis and the only way he gets dealt is if Davis gets dealt, too,” the exec detailed following the 2023 NBA trade deadline. “They do not necessarily have to go to the same place, but LeBron is largely responsible for AD being in Los Angeles and is not going to abandon him there. So if Davis can go to Chicago or Milwaukee or somewhere like that, where he would be happy, then LeBron could look to go elsewhere, too.
“It is hard to imagine him going anywhere except Cleveland, if the Cavs could make that happen without giving up too many assets. Miami would have to be in the mix, too, and maybe a darkhorse— the Knicks and Mavericks, he has always wanted to play with those teams, with those players. He has an interest in Luka [Doncic] for sure.”