Pacific Notes: LeBron, Paul, Lakers, Beal Trade, Kamagate

Lakers superstar LeBron James holds a $51.4MM player option for ’24/25. If he declines the option, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

Appearing on TNT Sports’ altcast on truTV (Twitter video link), James’ agent Rich Paul stated that his client was a free agent this summer. When Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT pointed out what Paul said and followed up by asking if James plans to decline the option, Paul attempted to walk back the comment.

Chris, you know I don’t do my business over the airwaves, man,” Paul said. “I don’t know what he’s gonna do. We’re gonna do what we do every year. We’re gonna evaluate the situation and we’re gonna make the best decision.”

If James does opt out, it would come as no surprise. The oldest player in the league remained incredibly productive, extending his own NBA record by making his 20th consecutive All-NBA team in 2023/24. The 39-year-old also had an excellent playoff series despite losing to the defending-champion Nuggets in five games, averaging 27.8 PPG, 8.8 APG, 6.8 RPG, 2.4 SPG and 1.0 BPG on .566/.385/.739 shooting in 40.8 MPG.

For what it’s worth, a recent report stated there’s been no indication James plans to leave L.A. even if he does decline the option. Becoming a free agent would give him the option of negotiating a no-trade clause on a new deal with the Lakers.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • In a fresh piece, Keith Smith of Spotrac previews the Lakers‘ offseason. After finishing with a 47-35 record and snagging the West’s No. 7 seed thanks to a play-in game victory, Los Angeles fell in five games to the Nuggets. The club quickly responded by firing head coach Darvin Ham after just two seasons. In addition to finding a replacement for Ham, the team will await the decisions of starters D’Angelo Russell and James with regard to their player options for 2024/25.
  • Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports lists five reasons why it’s too early to label the SunsBradley Beal trade a mistake. The capped-out club finished as the sixth seed in the West this season and was swept out of the first round of the playoffs. Beal, a three-time All-Star, appeared in just 53 regular season contests this season, averaging 18.2 PPG on .513/.430/.813 shooting splits, along with 5.0 APG, 4.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG and 0.5 BPG.
  • French center Ismael Kamagate, whose NBA rights are controlled by the Clippers, will stay on loan with Tortona in 2024/25, according to Sportando.

Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this report.

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