Rich Paul Talks LeBron James’ Future as Lakers Head to Pivotal Summer

Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul hinted at how many NBA seasons are left for his top client and close friend LeBron James as the Los Angeles Lakers head to a pivotal summer.

LeBron James Addresses His 'Future' in NBA, Needs to Talk to 'Fam'

“I think body-wise, five (years),” Paul said in “All The Smoke” podcast on May 2. “Mind-wise, understanding how to play the game mind-wise, forever. But mind-wise as it pertains to frustration and/or just like, ‘Man, I’ve had enough,’ missing time with his family and his wife, because they’ve been unbelievable. They’re been an unbelievable support system. At some point, it’s got to be about them. And I think from that perspective, maybe 2-3 (years).”

James has until June 29 to decide on his $51.4 million player option — a decision that will shape the Lakers’ immediate future.

The Lakers superstar declined to comment about his future during his exit interview following their second consecutive playoff loss to the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

James then doubled down on X, formerly Twitter, as rumors surrounding his future became the hot topic in traditional and social media circles.

“I’ve seen, heard a lot of reports about my future,” James said on his X post on April 30. “I said it last night and I’ll say it again. I do not know yet as I’m only thinking about spending time with my family and friends! When I know after speaking with the [family, my counsel as well as my representation about it then you guys will know. Until then [keep quiet emoticon]. Love, [king emoticon].”

I’ve seen, heard a lot of reports about my future. I said it last night and I’ll say it again. I do not know yet as I’m only thinking about spending time with my family & friends! When I know after speaking with the fam, my counsel as

LeBron James Expected to Return

Despite James saying publicly that he hasn’t make up his mind about his future, the expectation is he would return to the Lakers next season, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

“At this point, all the signs suggest he’ll stay with the Lakers. We’re not sure yet what the structure will be,” NBA insider Marc Stein said on the May 3 edition of his “#thisleague UNCUT” podcast. “The real curiosity is what kind of trade the Lakers can make to upgrade their roster.”

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who has covered James since his high school days in Akron, predicted that the 39-year-old Lakers superstar will decline his player option and enter free agency.

Lakers Coaching Search

James is on a wait-and-see mode not only to his son Bronny’s NBA Draft decision but also the Lakers’ next move after firing coach Darvin Ham.

Two of the biggest names, who have strong ties with James, are no longer available.

Los Angeles Clippers coach Tyronn Lue expressed his desire to remain with the Lakers’ crosstown rival Clippers.

“I don’t really have a comment on that,” Lue told reporters following the Clippers’ first-round exit last week. “I mean it’s great to be wanted you know that’s a really good feeling but like I said I want to be here and hopefully we’re able to solidify that.”

Meanwhile, Mavericks locked up Jason Kidd to a multi-year extension on Monday, May 6, after his name came up in the Lakers coaching search.

That leaves JJ Redick, James’ “Mind the Game” podcast co-host as the only coaching candidate who has ties with him.

The Lakers’ other options include former Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson and Boston Celtics assistant coach Charles Lee are all options, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Shams Charania.

Ham and Lee both worked as assistant coaches under Budenholzen in Milwaukee and Atlanta. Lee and Redick are also serious candidates for the Charlotte Hornets coaching job.

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