There have been a lot of discussions this NBA offseason about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. At the center of that is LeBron James, who is eligible for an extension this offseason. His negotiations will be one of the most interesting headlines for the next few weeks.
James has shown that he is still worth a max contract even as he enters his age-38 season and 20th in the NBA. The only negative is that he was on the court for only 56 games as he dealt with a myriad of injuries.
Injuries have begun creeping up on him in recent seasons, but when he is on the court, he is as dominant as ever. Last season he averaged 30.3 points per game to go along with 8.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks in 37.2 minutes per game.
The Lakers would love to keep James through the end of his career, but there are other factors to take into account when it comes to his extension. In 2024, his son, Bronny James, will be eligible for the NBA Draft. LeBron has made it clear that he intends to finish his career playing alongside his son.
Los Angeles doesn’t currently have a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, so he could have his eye elsewhere once the time comes. That is part of the reason the sources of NBC Sports believe they know what kind of contract James will sign this offseason.
“Most sources NBC spoke with expected LeBron will go with option three — a 1+1 — but that he may take his time signing it. There is no rush. And if that keeps the pressure on the Lakers to upgrade the roster, all the better.”
Signing a 1+1 deal, which has done numerous times in his career, would guarantee him staying in Los Angeles through 2024. He would have a player option for the 2024-25 season, which he could decline to enter free agency and then sign with wherever his son ends up.
Not signing the extension right away, as pointed out by NBC Sports, will also put pressure on the Lakers’ front office to make a move. As currently constructed, the team isn’t close to contending for a championship. Moves will have to be made and if delaying his contract signing will force their hand, it is a tactic he will deploy once again.
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