LeBron James extended his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, eliminating one of the uncertainties that loomed over the franchise this summer.
James penned a two-year, $97.1 million maximum contract extension — which could rise up to $111 million based on cap rises — tying him down to the Lakers for at least two more seasons. It includes a player option for the 2024-25 campaign, which is the first year his son, Bronny, could play in the NBA.
Also, James cannot be traded during 2022-23 because of the eight percent salary increase in the second year of the extension.
The eyes are now on the Lakers to fulfill their promises and put James in a position to fight for another championship. That might include a more aggressive pursuit of Kyrie Irving as The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reports a trade for the Brooklyn Nets star was the “primary complication” in the 37-year-old’s decision to extend his stay in L.A.:
The primary complication in James’ decision was that he has been privately adamant that the Lakers still need to improve the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources have told The Athletic.
Since the Irving trade saga started, it’s been speculated that James has been the driving force behind the Lakers’ efforts to acquire his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate.
L.A. would reportedly consider including both their future first-round picks to acquire Irving after showing reluctance to do so earlier in the summer. However, the Nets are believed not to be interested in the deal that would have to include Russell Westbrook and his $47.1 million salary so it may take a third team to get it done.
Lakers ‘very active’ in trade market
The latest reports claim vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka has been very active in the trade market, looking for the best option to add extra shooting and size to the roster.
Pelinka’s efforts reportedly include on-and-off talks with the Indiana Pacers about Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.
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