5 Lakers Playing Their Final Season in L.A.

There are a few key Lakers who will likely not make it back for next season.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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LeBron James

No Lakers fan wants to hear this but let's not kid ourselves. This is a real possibility.

If the Lakers can't prove that they are a serious championship contender in this postseason, the 39-year-old James could easily be out the door.

LeBron has a $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. He might choose to turn it down to get another lucrative multiyear deal with Los Angeles or another team. But that doesn't really matter when you are King James. You will get the max contract you want for however long you want in whichever team you decide to play for.

Unfortunately, LeBron hasn't made it clear that he would want that team to be the Lakers going forward. He seems happy to be in Los Angeles for all intents and purposes. But, he also cares about his legacy. It is hard to see him play for a non-playoff team in the final few years of his career. If the Lakers flame out early in the playoffs or miss it altogether, James could easily sign with another team or ask for a trade in the offseason.

Not only do the Lakers have to make some noise in the postseason, but they also have to make some roster upgrades to stay a contender to keep James happy. It might be a tall order for this front office that hasn't always made the smartest roster-building decisions around LeBron.

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