Rich Paul Mistakenly Reveals LeBron James Will Decline His Player Option To Become A Free Agent…Read more.

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul appeared on TNT’s alternate broadcast of Game 2 between the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. During the discussion, the conversation shifted to his client LeBron James. In a surprising moment, the 42-year-old Paul mistakenly referred to James as a free agent.

Rich Paul: “Look, LeBron’s a free agent. I need to focus on his business, and he should focus on his own, while the Lakers handle their coaching decisions. He has always played for any coach they’ve hired. I think he’s earned the right to have input if he wants it, but that’s not the case here.”

Chris Haynes: “You mentioned LeBron’s a free agent. Does that mean he’ll decline his player option?”

Rich Paul: “Chris, you know I don’t discuss business on the air. I don’t know what he’ll do. We’ll evaluate the situation like we do every year and make the best decision.”

It had been widely reported that James would opt out of his $51.4 million player option for 2024-25 with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Paul now seems to have confirmed this. The 20-time All-Star likely wasn’t pleased with his agent revealing this on air.

Opting out and becoming a free agent doesn’t necessarily mean James will leave the Lakers. A significant advantage for the 39-year-old in opting out is the ability to negotiate a no-trade clause in his new deal with LA. If he opts in and signs an extension, he wouldn’t be eligible for the clause. Given James’s desire for control, opting out always seemed likely. Nonetheless, becoming a free agent also opens the door to a potential departure. However, the Lakers are operating as if James will return next season, and I believe he will.

Rich Paul Expects LeBron James To Play For 2-3 More Years.

When you reach the stage LeBron is at in his career, there’s always speculation about how much longer he’ll continue playing. Rich Paul believes James has 2-3 years left in the NBA.

“I believe so,” Paul said when asked if LeBron will continue his NBA career next season. “We definitely have fewer years left with LeBron James than we’ve already enjoyed… I don’t know how long we’ll see him, but my advice to him is to have fun and enjoy it because there are far fewer years to play than he’s already played. I think we see him next year, but how many years after that, I don’t know. I think he has 2-3 years left in the tank, maybe.”

That’s about how long I expect him to play as well. LeBron averaged an impressive 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game in the 2023-24 season, so there is gas left in the tank. As long as he doesn’t suffer a serious injury of some sort, he should be able to play at a fairly high level for a couple more years.

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