One of the questions the Los Angeles Lakers had was about the future of LeBron James, who was entering the last year of his deal.
After a couple of poor finishes, some wondered whether or not James had grown discontent in Los Angeles, but he silenced all of those sentiments when he signed an extension that will keep him with the Lakers until the end of the 2023-24 season at minimum. With James committed for at least two more seasons, it allows Los Angeles to be more aggressive in trade talks to improve the roster.
James re-signing must be a relief to new Lakers head coach Darvin Ham who has had nothing but good things to say about his superstar. When discussing James’ extension, Ham emphasized how rare it is to have someone like him come through the NBA via Tomer Azarly of ClutchPoints:
“It’s huge, man,” Darvin Ham told ClutchPoints in an exclusive interview. “It’s huge. LeBron is once-in-a-lifetime player. You only get so many players. Not even so many. You have Bill Russell, you have Wilt Chamberlain, you have Dr. J, you have Moses Malone, you had Larry Bird, Magic [Johnson], you had [Michael] Jordan, you had Allen Iverson, Shaq [O’Neal], Kobe [Bryant], and now it’s LeBron’s time.”
James has established himself as a historical great who can still add to his lengthy list of accolades. The 37-year-old’s dominance this late in his career is almost unprecedented, and his longevity sets him apart from other all-time greats.
The Lakers and Ham are incredibly fortunate to have James on the team for the foreseeable future, as he will keep their championship window ajar. Ham is the man now charged with leading James and the rest of the team to a title, though there is more work left to be done to meet that goal.
Phil Handy recalls telling LeBron James doesn’t play hard enough in regular season
James has made numerous deep postseason runs throughout his career but has drawn criticism for how he looks during the regular season. For example, Phil Handy recalled telling James he didn’t play hard enough but later apologized after realizing the star was conserving energy for the playoffs.