Lakers Rumors: L.A. Assured LeBron James Both First-Round Picks Will Be Dealt If Trade Can Return Team To ‘Contender Status’
(Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James has committed his future to the Los Angeles Lakers, signing a contract extension that will keep him in L.A. until at least 2024.

Before putting pen to paper, James needed reassurances from the Lakers they would use all the resources to return to the championship race after two disappointing seasons. The 37-year-old is believed to have met with vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham, voicing concerns about the team’s competitiveness.

Pelinka reportedly vowed he would put the 18-time All-Star in a place to compete for another championship ring for as long as he remains with the franchise. NBA insider Marc Stein claims James was also assured L.A. will trade both of their available first-round picks if the move significantly increases their title odds:

L.A. has nonetheless pledged to James that it will indeed continue to aggressively pursue upgrades. League sources say James, in fact, has been assured that the Lakers are willing to trade both of their available future first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 if a trade that costs them both picks can realistically position the Lakers to return to contender status.

The latest reports claim James extended his contract with the Lakers as L.A. is the place “where he wants to be.” That suggests the four-time NBA champion believes Pelinka and his front office will keep their promises and make the team competitive again — with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst confirming on his podcast that the forward has faith in the franchise:

“After the [extension] was done, I asked about why now? And basically I was told ‘because LeBron believes in the Lakers.’”

During contract negotiations with the Lakers, James reportedly remained “adamant” that he wanted L.A. to trade for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. After a few quiet weeks, the Irving trade saga could soon heat up again — particularly now that the Lakers seem less concerned about parting with their draft assets.

Third team likely needed for Irving-James reunion

While the Lakers seem open to giving up two first-rounders for Irving, they reportedly wouldn’t pay a price this high for Indiana Pacers duo Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.

But the Nets still appear uninterested in a straight Irving-for-Russell-Westbrook swap, even if the deal includes the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. L.A. might need to engage a third team to acquire the Nets playmaker in the end.

The San Antonio Spurs have reportedly been interested in facilitating the trade — but to do so, they also expect to receive draft capital in exchange.

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