Major Reason LeBron James Signed Extension with Lakers Revealed: Report

Lakers star LeBron James

Getty Lakers star LeBron James

LeBron James signed a two-year, $97.1 million extension with the Los Angeles Lakers on August 18th and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has some intel on why the four-time MVP decided to extend with the purple and gold.

On the August 20th episode of The Hoop Collective, Windhorst said James signed the extension because he “believes in the Lakers.”

“Basically I was told because LeBron believes in the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “LeBron believes in the Lakers. Long story short.”

James’ extension has a 15% trade kicker and makes the superstar small forward the highest-earning player in NBA history with $532 million in guaranteed money, surpassing Brooklyn Nets All-Star swingman Kevin Durant. James, who turns 38 in December, was ineligible for a no-trade clause since he agreed to an extension.

James Is ‘Extremely Happy’ in Los Angeles

The Lakers lost in the first round of the 2021 playoffs to the Phoenix Suns and didn’t qualify for the play-in tournament last season. However, James is reportedly “extremely happy” in Los Angeles, according to a July 29th report from NBA insider Marc Stein.

“Sources briefed on the matter stress that James is extremely happy in Los Angeles despite the Lakers’ back-to-back rocky seasons,” Stein reported. “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.”

Both of James’ sons play basketball at Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles. Bronny will be a senior in high school this year, while Bryce will be a sophomore. James’ wife — Savannah — and daughter — Zhuri — also enjoy living in LA.

James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists while shooting 52.4% from the field, 35.9% from beyond the arc and 75.6% from the free-throw line last season. The four-time Finals MVP has played in 223 out of a possible 307 regular-season games since joining the Lakers, averaging 27.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.2 assists.

Lakers Made Big Promise to James

According to an August 18th report from Stein, James has been assured that the Lakers are willing to trade both of their available future first-round picks in 2027 and 2029.

“L.A. has nonetheless pledged to James that it will indeed continue to aggressively pursue upgrades,” Stein reported. “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.”

James wants the Lakers to trade for Kyrie Irving, according to an August 17th report from Jovan Buha of The Athletic. James and Irving played three seasons together on the Cleveland Cavaliers and won the 2016 title over the Golden State Warriors. Stein reported on July 29th that Russell Westbrook is aware of James’ desire to play with Irving, whose future with the Nets is unknown since Durant has requested a trade.

Westbrook started 78 games for the Lakers last season and averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the floor, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line. The 2016-17 MVP was second in the NBA in turnovers and had the sixth-worst effective field goal percentage, making him a poor fit next to James and Anthony Davis.

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