With the Los Angeles Lakers 2023-24 campaign having come to an end after the team crashed out of the playoffs in the first round against the Denver Nuggets, all eyes are on LeBron James. James has a player option in his deal for the 2024-25 campaign, so he could conceivably opt out of his deal to hit the open market, and his agent Rich Paul may have just indicated what his plans are for the offseason.

There's been tons of speculation surrounding James and what his decision could end up being, which is part of the reason why the Lakers ongoing search for a new head coach has drawn so much attention. Los Angeles is obviously hoping James will opt into his player option and not hit the open market, but when discussing the situation, Paul recently referred to his top client as a free agent, indicating that he could be planning on declining his option.

LeBron James could very well end up on the open market

LeBron James and his wife Savannah Brinson watch Bronny James participate in the 2024 NBA Draft Combine at Wintrust Arena.
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

While it may have been a simple mistake on Paul's end, this comment cannot be totally ignored. As of right now, James isn't a free agent, so could this be a sign that he is planning on opting out of his deal to test the waters of free agency? Only time will tell, but as right now, it seems like this could actually be what he ends up doing.

Even though he is set to enter his age 40 season next year, James would have no shortage of suitors should he hit the open market. One such team that is a perennial playoff contender and has money to blow on a big name superstar this offseason is the Philadelphia 76ers, and they are reportedly keeping a close eye on James' situation as free agency draws near.

“The Sixers do have their eyes on other lucrative-salary impact players just in case they don’t get George. That’s why they also are looking at potential free agents like the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby.” – Keith Pompey, The Philadelphia Inquirer

James put together another strong season with the Lakers this season (25.7 PPG, 8.3 APG, 7.3 RPG, 54 FG%), but with the rest of his team struggling, he could ultimately decide to move on this offseason as he attempts to win another title or two before he retires. LA simply may not have the assets needed to build a winner around him in James' eyes, which is another reason why this situation is so interesting.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but it seems like there's a real chance that LeBron could hit the open market and find a new home this offseason. Rich Paul's slip up obviously isn't something that can be relied on for 100 percent accuracy, but it's telling that's how he chose to refer to LeBron James in these comments, and we will soon find out whether or not he accidentally revealed their plans to the public here.