(Reuters) – Four-times NBA champion LeBron James intends to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers but is expected to stick with the team on a new deal, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

While there is plenty of focus on whether James will become a free agent for the fourth time in his decorated career, his Lakers future is hardly in doubt given they selected his son in the second round of the NBA draft on Thursday.

The Athletic, ESPN and CBS Sports said James will opt out of his $51.4 million player option for next season, which would make him a free agent and eligible to sign a maximum three-year deal with the Lakers worth around $160 million.

Such a deal would include a no-trade clause, meaning the 39-year-old James would presumably retire as a member of the Lakers or control his next destination.

James has until 5 p.m. ET (2100 GMT) on Saturday to decide whether to opt into his player option for the 2024-25 National Basketball Association season.

If James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, opts into his contract for next season and signs an extension in August he would not be eligible for a no-trade clause.

In six seasons with the Lakers, the four-times league MVP has averaged 27 points per game, eight assists and 7.9 rebounds.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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