Lakers Rumors: Jeanie Buss Won’t Look To Trade LeBron James If He Doesn’t Sign Extension
Lebron James Jeanie Buss Lakers
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers head into this offseason with a number of question marks surrounding them, with LeBron James’ future with the organization being chief among them.

James is set to enter the final year of his contract, although he will be eligible for a two-year maximum extension on Aug. 1 if he wants it.

Considering all James has done for the organization, namely winning them their 17th championship, there’s not much doubt regarding whether the Lakers will offer him the extension or not, it will likely just come down to if he wants to accept it or not.

James has made it clear that he wants to play with his son Bronny in the NBA, which at the earliest would come in the 2024-25 season so it does not have much effect on a potential extension with the Lakers.

At the conclusion of this past season, James stated that he had not yet thought about if he will sign the extension or not. If he doesn’t though, many have questioned whether the Lakers should trade him this summer to get some assets in return as opposed to potentially seeing him walk for nothing in a year.

While that may seem like a logical choice to make, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, it is not something that Jeanie Buss is considering:

If LeBron James ultimately decides against signing an extension with the Lakers in August, sources say Buss wouldn’t see his desire to play out the final season of his contract as a reason to consider trading him. Without an extension, James’ current deal will expire after next season (in which he’s owed $47.1 million).

It’s a natural question to ask in these sorts of situations, as the notion of James leaving the Lakers empty-handed by signing elsewhere in the summer of 2023 would be less than ideal. Still, all signs point to the year-by-year approach being considered acceptable by the Lakers — so long as the relationship with James is still in a good place.

The Lakers have always been an organization that tries to treat stars right in order to attract more stars in the future, so Buss taking this stance with James does not come as much of a surprise.

If the relationship between James and the Lakers stays good between now and Aug. 1 then maybe he still signs the extension. By playing it coy now though, he is putting pressure on the organization to put the right talent around him in order to get back into championship contention, so the Lakers front office will have a ton of pressure on it this offseason in order to make that happen to avoid James leaving in free agency next summer.

O’Neal endorses Jackson for head coaching position

Not only with the Lakers have to get the roster right in order to keep James, but the same can be said for their coaching search as they look for a replacement for Frank Vogel.

It was reported early in the offseason that James was intrigued by the prospect of Mark Jackson coaching him on the Lakers, and now Jackson also has another backer in Shaquille O’Neal.

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