LeBron James can take his talents elsewhere by declining a $51.4 million option in his contract for the 2024-25 season before Sunday's deadline, but the Lakers are looking to reroute the 39-year-old back to Los Angeles with a new three-year max offer, according to ESPN.

James can be offered no more than a three-year deal under the NBA's rule limiting the length of contracts teams can offer players over age 38.

That caps the three-year offer the Lakers can make to James at a maximum $162 million. The first step is his player option, although he can decline the option, test free agency and opt for a short-term deal if that's his preference.

"We want to respect and honor LeBron's ability on June 29 to make a decision about his contract," Lakers GM Rob Pelinka said Tuesday.

A 20-time All-Star set to turn 40 on Dec. 30, James and new head coach JJ Redick were co-hosts of a popular podcast "Mind the Game" last season and clearly have a rapport with shared thinking about key parts of player development and team culture.

Pelinka said Tuesday that James was "supportive" of the Lakers' search but opted not to be overly involved, which is the opposite of the approach taken by All-Star teammate Anthony Davis.

Redick turned 40 on Tuesday and the first-time head coach claimed he had only a brief conversation with James this week after being offered the spot held by Darvin Ham the past two seasons.

With maximum cap space available, the Philadelphia 76ers are considered a looming threat to the Lakers if James opts out of his contract. The Sixers are among teams showing the greatest interest in James' oldest son, USC guard Bronny James, before the 2024 NBA Draft on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.