Gary Payton Confirms LeBron James Will Stay with Lakers

‣ NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton expressed his belief that LeBron James will remain with the Los Angeles Lakers, dismissing rumors of his departure. Payton highlighted LeBron’s commitment to LA and his journey through different teams, suggesting LA is his final stop.
‣ The Golden State Warriors made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire LeBron James before the 2024 NBA trade deadline, with Warriors owner Joe Lacob reaching out to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and LeBron’s agent, but both the Lakers and James were not interested in exploring a trade.
‣ LeBron James has the option to decline his $51.41 million player option for the 2024-25 season, which could lead to various scenarios including re-signing with the Lakers on a new deal, or potentially joining the Los Angeles Clippers, especially if they draft his son, Bronny James.

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So, there’s been a whirlwind of chatter about LeBron James possibly leaving the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. The man’s got a hefty $51.41 million player option for 2024-25 that he might just say no to in the coming months.

Gary Payton, an NBA Hall of Famer, had his two cents to throw in. Before the All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, he chatted with Yahoo Sports. “LeBron did what he wanted — [what] he was supposed to. He said, ‘I’m staying where I’m at,'” Payton spilled the beans. According to him, LeBron’s not budging. L.A. is his playground now, though it’s no secret it was Kobe’s kingdom.

“But LeBron is taking over now,” Payton continued. He’s been around the block a few times, right? Cleveland, Miami, back to Cleveland. And now, L.A. seems to be his final stop.

Then there’s this tweet that stirred the pot even more. It hinted at the Warriors eyeing LeBron or other big names like Kevin Durant or Paul George if they hit free agency. The tweet from 95.7 The Game dropped this bombshell on February 14, 2024.

Oh, and Payton’s not just talking about LeBron’s future. He’s also one of the judges for the AT&T Slam Dunk Competition. He’ll be sitting alongside Darnell Hillman, Fred Jones, Mitch Richmond, and Dominique Wilkins.

Before we could catch our breath, the 2024 NBA trade deadline buzzed with news. The Golden State Warriors tried to woo Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. They wanted to pair LeBron with Stephen Curry, imagine that!

NBA legend Gary Payton then said something that caught everyone’s attention. He believes LeBron will stick with the Lakers, especially after the Warriors’ plan flopped.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob didn’t stop there, though. He reached out to Buss, fishing to see if LeBron’s public frustration was a sign. A sign they could snag him in a trade.

But the Lakers and LeBron weren’t having any of it. Buss pretty much told Lacob to talk to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, CEO of Klutch Sports.

Another tweet popped up, this time from Warriors on NBCS. It showed Steph Curry reacting to the trade rumors about LeBron. That was on February 15, 2024.

As the NBA trade deadline loomed, Rich Paul made it clear. LeBron had zero interest in leaving the Lakers.

Mike Dunleavy Jr., the Warriors general manager, got the same message. He had reached out to Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka just before the deadline.

Now, here’s a twist. LeBron might still shake things up by declining his option and re-signing with the Lakers. Or, and here’s a juicy bit, he could jump ship to the Los Angeles Clippers. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst thinks LeBron’s after a pay raise.

But what if he doesn’t leave L.A. at all? Imagine LeBron joining forces with the Clippers. They’ve got James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. Add LeBron to that mix, and it’s a basketball fan’s dream.

And then there’s Bronny. LeBron’s eldest son is a freshman guard for the USC Trojans. Standing at 6-foot-4, he’s making waves. LeBron has hinted he’d play for whichever team drafts Bronny.

Bronny’s eligible for the 2024 NBA Draft. A team could draft him as a strategy to lure LeBron. Now, wouldn’t that be something?

James Shotwell
James Shotwell
James, a dedicated writer for BasketballHour, holds a degree in English and Creative Writing. A genuine sports enthusiast and skilled betting advice provider, he writes engaging articles and valuable winning strategies for sports.

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