Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ contract is set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 season, although he officially became eligible for a two-year, $97 million extension on Thursday.
James’ time with the Lakers has been filled with ups and downs as after winning the championship in 2020, they have had back-to-back disappointing seasons. Because of that, it remains to be seen how long the 38-year-old plans to remain with the team.
Obviously signing an extension would put an end to all of those questions, but on Thursday morning it was reported that nothing was imminent yet. Some have speculated that James may wait to sign an extension to put some pressure on the Lakers’ front office to improve the roster to get back into championship contention.
Regardless, it seems that James’ relationship with the front office remains strong as Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported on Thursday afternoon that he and his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports had a productive meeting with Rob Pelinka:
LeBron James and his representative Rich Paul of Klutch Sports met with Lakers VP of basketball ops and GM Rob Pelinka on Thursday regarding James’ eligible contract extension. Paul told ESPN the discussion was “productive” and both sides will continue a dialogue.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 4, 2022
This is obviously positive news as even though a deal has yet to come to fruition, it seems that both signs are intent on getting it done.
There have been some whispers that James could return to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a third time next summer if he does not sign an extension to remain in L.A., although a recent report indicated that his hometown team does not have LeBron in their plans at this time.
James has until June 30, 2023, to sign an extension so there really is no rush. He and the Lakers likely do not want it looming over them all season though, so both sides have reason to get it done before opening night at the end of October.
James pushing for Lakers to acquire Irving
Whether or not James signs the extension though could depend on what the Lakers’ roster looks like. Various reports have indicated that James is pushing for the organization to trade Russell Westbrook for Kyrie Irving, but the Lakers have been hesitant to include multiple first-round picks in a deal to this point.
Perhaps James can use his looming extension to put pressure on L.A. to do so, although Brooklyn is unlikely to trade Irving until Kevin Durant’s situation is resolved anyway.
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