Thursday, August 18, 2022

LeBron James extension: No agreement imminent between Lakers and James, per report

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James became eligible to ink an extension with the team on Thursday, but there is no agreement imminent between the two sides, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, via an appearance on NBA Today. There is technically no rush for James, who has one year remaining on his current contract, to sign an extension, as he has until June 30 to do so before becoming an unrestricted free agent. 

Though no agreement has been reached yet, James and his representative, Rich Paul, met with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday in a meeting that James’ agent described as “productive.” The two sides are expected to continue dialogue on the matter moving forward, per McMenamin

A recent report from Marc Stein suggested that James is extremely happy in L.A., and is unlikely to leave the Lakers any time before 2024, as that is when his son, Bronny, will become eligible to enter the NBA Draft. James has previously expressed a desire to play on the same squad as his son. 

From Stein: 

Sources briefed on the matter stress that James is extremely happy in Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ back-to-back rocky seasons. He and his family, by all accounts, have grown increasingly entrenched in Southern California since James signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018.  

The prevailing thinking in league circles holds that only the chance to play elsewhere alongside son Bronny James, who will be eligible for the 2024 draft and continues to develop as an NBA prospect, would spur LeBron to push for an L.A. exit.  

In order to remain in L.A. through 2024, James will have to add at least one more season to the end of his current contract. Perhaps he’ll sign a two-year deal that includes a player option for the second season that would allow him to leave the Lakers and join Bronny on a team if he makes it to the league.   

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Given the ample time he has to make a decision, it’s not surprising that James didn’t sign an extension the second he became eligible to do so. After all, he might want to see how the Lakers look out on the court before making a longer commitment. After the way the team has looked over the past couple of seasons, it would be tough to blame him. 

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