Just How Long Will Lakers All-Star LeBron James Keep Playing?

Twenty-time All-NBA Los Angeles Lakers combo forward LeBron James is slated to embark on what will be his 22nd pro season, a tally that will tie Hall of Fame wing Vince Carter for the most years logged in the history of the league.

Read more: Lakers, LeBron James Agree to Massive New Contract — With One Surprise

The 6-foot-9 vet just agreed to ink a two-year contract to stay with L.A. through at least next season, with a player option in 2025-26. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the deal is set to pay the four-time MVP $104 million across two years, but James could be amenable to shaving $1 million off that total so that Los Angeles team president/general manager Rob Pelinka can have a bit more freedom while working transactions below the league’s punitive second luxury tax apron.

James, 39, hasn’t shown many signs of performative slippage, at least on offense. The league’s oldest active player appeared in 71 games for the 47-35 Lakers, averaging 25.7 points on .540/.410/.750 shooting splits, 8.3 assists, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks a night. For his efforts, James was named an All-Star and to an All-NBA 3rd Team.

LeBron James Nikola Jokic Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the third quarter during game three of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Arena on April 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. James signed…

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

So just how long will James stay in the league? His long-held dream of playing alongside his eldest son, former USC Trojans guard Bronny James, is slated to come true this year. The 19-year-old Bronny was selected with the No. 55 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft by Los Angeles, and will take up one of the team’s 15 standard roster spots.

During an appearance of ESPN’s “First Take,” insider Brian Windhorst, revealed that several elements are being considered by LeBron James with regards to the extent of his on-court future. And a big one is potential team ownership.

“The biggest thing, other than health, that we’re gonna see that is going to determine when the end of LeBron’s career is when the owners of the league set forth a timeline about when they’re gonna establish that expansion team in Las Vegas,” Windhorst revealed.

“Now, nothing is assured … but I suspect once the TV rights deals get wrapped up … they’re gonna bring expansion to the table,” Windhorst continued. “[James] wants to join up with partners to become the face of the franchise in Las Vegas.”

Last year, per The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov, NBA commissioner Adam Silver revealed that the league has long been circling potential expansion teams in Seattle and Vegas. The NBA has not expanded in 20 years, having last added a franchise, then the Charlotte Bobcats (now rightfully re-named the Hornets), in 2004. Currently, the league boasts 30 teams, but as soon as a media rights agreement is finalized, it seems likely that tally will change.