LeBron James seems poised to test free agency after Lakers ouster, won't commit to future in LA

With the Los Angeles Lakers being eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, it seems that LeBron James may be poised to test free agency this offseason and not opt into the final year of his contract.

When asked about his future with the Lakers and if he thinks that Monday's game was the last game he's played in Los Angeles, James said, "I'm not going to answer that."

The 21-year veteran's noncommittal response to his future is interesting for teams across the league, including the Knicks, who have become a desired destination after their recent success.

For what it's worth, James is 23-9 all time at Madison Square Garden and has averaged 28.1 points, 7.3 assists and 6.8 rebounds. He called MSG his "absolute favorite playground" following the Lakers' victory over the Knicks on Feb. 5.

James has played in Los Angeles for the last six seasons, making the postseason four times in that span and winning the NBA title during the 2019-20 season.

If he does opt for free agency, it will be the first time the 39-year-old has been a free agent since 2018 -- something ESPN's Brian Windhorst seems to think will happen.

"I do think LeBron intends to opt out of his contract and become a free agent for the first time since 2018," Windhorst said on Get Up on Tuesday morning..

However, Windhorst also believes that James intends to stay in Los Angeles, and that becoming a free agent "will apply a little bit of pressure on the Lakers" to build around him better.

Of course, the other thing to consider in where James may end up is what happens with his son -- USC basketball player Bronny James, who has declared for the NBA draft.

LeBron has been vocal for quite some time about wanting to play with his son in the NBA before he retires, so wherever the younger James gets drafted (if at all) might also dictate where he ends up.

The Lakers are reportedly open to drafting Bronny to fulfill LeBron's wish.

James has until June 29 to either opt into the final remaining year on his contract with Los Angeles for $51.4 million or become an unrestricted free agent.