The summer of 2024 will be a big one for Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. This July, for the fourth time in his long and illustrious career, LeBron will be one of the twelve players who are representing Team USA in the Summer Olympics. But weeks before he dons the red, white and blue, the entire James family will be the center of the NBA universe, with LeBron James potentially an unrestricted free agent, his son Bronny James entering the NBA Draft, and with the Lakers searching for a head coach after firing Darvin Ham and missing out on UConn head coach Dan Hurley.

22 years in and the NBA still revolves around King James.

But the question now is, how aggressively will LeBron James — the godfather of the NBA's player empowerment era — attempt to yield his power to, A) Dictate who the Los Angeles Lakers hire as their head coach, and B) Put the squeeze on the Lakers to select his son in the NBA Draft? Former NBA star and current TNT color commentator Reggie Miller spoke with Dan Patrick on Monday morning and weighed in on how LeBron James may attempt to handle this summer.

“I would certainly say he’s definitely more involved with Bronny and that 55 pick, right?” Miller responded when Patrick asked where LeBron would be more involved this summer. “Don’t the Lakers have the 55th pick in this draft? That’s what everyone is kind of looking at where Bronny could fall. I think between him, Rich Paul, Bronny, he’s more involved with that than he is the head coaching. That’s his blood, and he’s made no secret that he wants to play with him.”

On numerous occasions, well before Bronny James had even enrolled at USC, LeBron James has referenced wanting to play alongside his son, even noting that he would take less money and play anywhere in order to do so. He's since backed off that sentiment slightly, though there is still the idea around the league that any team who does choose to select Bronny James in the NBA Draft will automatically be in play for LeBron James as well. There are franchises that are certainly exceptions, but if a team like Phoenix, Philadelphia, Cleveland or Miami were to come away with Bronny James after the NBA Draft, you better believe the rumor mill will be running wild that LeBron could be following.

LeBron's hands-off approach thus far with the Los Angeles Lakers' coaching search thus far only lends credibility to the idea that he could already have one foot out the door. However, if the Lakers were to hire his “Mind The Game” co-host JJ Redick as their next head coach, it could entice LeBron to reconsider the idea of leaving.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shakes hands with his son Bronny James during the second half against the Houston Rockets at Arena.
© Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Has the LeBron James/Los Angeles Lakers partnership run it's course? 

The answer to that question is yes, though I don't think either side is willing to admit it yet. But to be clear, they should be. LeBron and Anthony Davis — and an incredibly underrated supporting cast which was ripped to shreds with the ill-advised trade for Russell Westbrook — won the NBA Title in 2020. That right there justifies LeBron's move and the Lakers efforts to mortgage their future to win in the present. In the four years since then, the Lakers have won just two postseason series.

LeBron James isn't getting any younger. In fact, by the end of December, he'll become only the 32nd player in NBA history to play into his forties. My guess is, LeBron will eventually break the record  for most seasons played in the NBA, but my hope is he's doing it somewhere other than LA.

Just like it was probably best if Michael Jordan never came back to play two mostly meaningless seasons for the Washington Wizards, LeBron James and the entire NBA would benefit from either the best or second-best player in NBA history playing the final years of his career in a situation where he would be in the mix for another NBA Title. The rub is, that situation may not present itself, so another alternative would be to watch as LeBron and Bronny James become the only father-son tandem to be in the league at the same time AND the only father-son tandem to play on the same team. Best case scenario: that's happening as LeBron chases rings #5 and #6.

As things stand right now, this is all purely speculation — from Bronny James' draft position to JJ Redick's status as the favorite for the Lakers job. But within weeks, the dominoes will begin to fall and we'll see what the next chapter in the career of LeBron James entails.