Will the Los Angeles Lakers' mediocrity push LeBron James out the door?

LeBron James has a big decision to make after the conclusion of the 2023-24 NBA season.
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Will the Los Angeles Lakers' mediocrity end up pushing LeBron James out the door after this season?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been more pretender than contender through the first 37 games of the season. After making a somewhat surprising run to the Western Conference Finals last season, that wasn't exactly the expectation for Los Angeles this year. In hopes of finally returning back to a consistent championship-level team, the Lakers entered this season with slightly higher expectations. Thus far, they've fallen well short of them.

In fact, the Lakers are just 18-19 on the season and are clinging to the 10th seed in the Western Conference. If the season ended today, they'd have to play their way into an 8th seed. The only good news for the Lakers is that, thankfully, the season doesn't end today. But Los Angeles roughly only has 40-some odd games to figure it all out. If the Lakers aren't able to, there are going to be some serious questions that are birthed from four straight mediocre seasons after winning the NBA Championship in 2020.

Since winning the bubble championship, the Lakers have not looked anything close to a contender. For a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that's not great. That's borderline unacceptable. In fact, over the course of LeBron's career, that's not something he's let fly.

And if that trend remains true, could the Lakers' recent whirlwind of mediocrity push LeBron out of Los Angeles? If so, this could be the offseason when it finally happens, if it is going to.

If LeBron James is going to leave the Lakers, it will happen this offseason

LeBron could opt out of the final year of his contract after this season to test free agency. Heading into the offseason, LeBron holds all the cards for his future. Even after the ripe age of 39 years old, LeBron is still going to have the power and ability to sign a huge contract no matter whether he decides to remain with the Lakers or sign elsewhere.

If LeBron doesn't believe the Lakers are the best chance for him to win another championship, leaving Los Angeles in free agency this summer can't be that outlandish of an idea.

The Lakers might be a team headed toward trouble. Head coach Darvin Ham is under a hot seat and there could be more internal issues that haven't even reached the light of day yet. If LeBron is ever going to leave the Lakers, it seems like this is the offseason when it's going to happen. And you can't help but believe that the final few months of the season could have a huge impact on that potential decision from LeBron.