Though much of the attention surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers continues to be on potential deals involving point guard Russell Westbrook, the future of LeBron James also continues to loom large. James will soon be eligible to sign an extension with the Lakers on Aug. 4 and many are questioning whether he will do so if he doesn’t feel they are true championship contenders after failing mightily in the previous two seasons.
In fact, LeBron’s extension and a potential Westbrook trade have been linked with some believing the Lakers getting a deal done, particularly for Kyrie Irving, would basically guarantee James sticks around.
While that could very well be the case, it sounds as if the last couple of years have not soured LeBron on the Lakers. According to NBA reporter Marc Stein, James and his family remain extremely happy in Los Angeles:
Sources briefed on the matter stress that James is extremely happy in Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ back-to-back rocky seasons. He and his family, by all accounts, have grown increasingly entrenched in Southern California since James signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2018.
If the Lakers know that they will have James in the fold beyond this season, it could potentially make it a bit easier if they needed to part with future assets to construct a trade. One thing the Lakers do not want to do is give away more future draft picks only for LeBron to leave next summer.
But James seems to be locked into the purple and gold with many reportedly believing that the only thing that could push him away from the Lakers is the opportunity to play with his son Bronny:
The prevailing thinking in league circles holds that only the chance to play elsewhere alongside son Bronny James, who will be eligible for the 2024 draft and continues to develop as an NBA prospect, would spur LeBron to push for an L.A. exit.
LeBron has made no secret of his desire to play with his son on an NBA floor, so this makes complete sense. The opportunity to suit up with his son is something no one has done in the history of the NBA so the chance to do that would be something LeBron simply can’t pass up.
Lakers more reluctant to part with draft picks than in previous seasons
One of the things that is likely holding up a big deal is draft compensation. The Lakers now have their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks available to deal and teams have been asking for them in any potential Westbrook trade.
But the Lakers are reportedly more reluctant than in prior years to deal away those draft picks. In addition to the Brooklyn Nets asking for them in a potential Kyrie Irving deal, the Indiana Pacers have also reportedly asked for both in a possible deal involving Buddy Hield and Myles Turner.
The Lakers’ front office looks to be practicing much more patience and won’t jump into any bad deal that will cost them too many future assets.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!