Among the top priorities for the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason is securing an extension for LeBron James. The King became eligible to sign the two-year, $97.1 million contract on Aug. 4, but has not inked it yet.
It was reported that all signs point toward LeBron signing a deal to stay in L.A., with family playing a large role in the decision. James’ two oldest sons Bronny and Bryce will be playing basketball together at Sierra Canyon High School next year. His daughter Zhuri is also turning eight, making a move to another city a predicament.
Initial talks with general manager Rob Pelinka were reported to be “productive,” however, an extension still hasn’t been agreed on. There is no rush for James to sign the deal though since he has until June 30, 2023, to make a decision.
Details have now emerged about the talk between Klutch Sports and the Lakers, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
And while contract dialogue was broached, the majority of the hour-long meeting was about expressing concerns, and hearing out strategies and opinions to assure there wouldn’t be a repeat of last season’s epic failure, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
James, sources said, drilled home the importance of consistent competitiveness and cohesion, noting that last season’s team didn’t give themselves a chance on many nights. The focus for the future Hall of Famer is competing every night in order to give themselves a chance to compete for a championship.
Going into his 20th season, it’s not a surprise that James’ priorities are set on competing for a title. He can’t waste years at his age due to the often rapid decline of superstars in the NBA — though James has been an exception.
An interesting aspect of the report is that the talk had James emphasize competitiveness and cohesion. The good news for James is that those are two qualities Darvin Ham has reiterated in his early talks about what fans should expect from the team. Much of Ham’s job will be tailored toward having the best team out there to maximize LeBron’s remaining time as a Laker.
Pelinka didn’t hesitate to share his desire to keep James in L.A. and even offered a guarantee:
Pelinka made his feelings clear that he wants James to retire as a Laker and promised to provide him with every resource possible to compete for a championship each year he’s with the organization, sources said.
The promise from Pelinka may have come as a response to LeBron wanting the front office to prove their willingness to win. During his second stint in Cleveland, James signed multiple one-year deals to put pressure on the organization.
It may not be the same this time around, but the Lakers surely don’t want extension talks to add another distraction during the season.
James teases summer trip to Seattle for Pro-Am appearance
After James took to the Drew League last month, there’s been an influx of NBA athletes playing in various Pro-Ams. Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray even encouraged players to participate in Pro-Ams for fans that cannot afford to come to NBA games.
James might follow up on Murray’s request, hinting that he may travel to Seattle and “get a run in!”
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