LeBron James is eligible to sign an extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, and it appears he will continue his playing career in LA.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, who covers the Lakers, said on August 5 that all signs point toward James signing an extension with the purple and gold. James is eligible to sign a two-year extension worth about $97 million. The four-time MVP and four-time champion would become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2023 if he didn’t agree to an extension with Los Angeles. The final day James can sign an extension is June 30, 2023.
“All signs point toward both sides looking to extend their partnership together,” McMenamin said on “NBA Today.” “It’s already led to one championship in 2020. It’s also led to two playoffs appearances where they didn’t make it, but overall, I think both sides recognize that they can help one another get to their mutual goal, which is to compete at a high level and stay relevant as both one of the best players in the NBA and one of the most marquee franchises in the NBA.”
James has three options with the Lakers’ extension offer. The future Hall of Famer can decline it and become a free agent in 2023, sign a two-year extension or agree to a 1+1 deal. James, who will turn 38 in December, will make $44.5 million next season.
James Is Expected to Sign a 1+1 Deal with Lakers
According to an August 4 report from Kurt Helin of NBC Sports, James is expected to sign a 1+1 deal with the Lakers.
“Most sources around the league NBC spoke with expected LeBron will go with option three — a 1+1 — but that he may take his time signing it,” Helin reported. “There is no rush (the extension can be signed through next June). And if that keeps the pressure on the Lakers to upgrade the roster, all the better.”
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 in 2021-22. However, the Lakers went only 33-49 and didn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament.
Despite the Lakers’ disastrous 2021-22 season, James is “extremely happy” in Los Angeles, according to a July 29 report from NBA insider Marc Stein. Both of James’ sons play basketball at Sierra Canyon School. Bronny James will be a senior in high school this year and Bryce James will be a sophomore. James’ wife and daughter also enjoy living in LA.
“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.”
James Wants to Win More Titles
James told reporters during his exit interview in April that he’s still motivated to win more championships despite having four rings. The King is two titles and two Finals MVPs away from tying Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan.
“I came here to win a championship. And I want to win more. So I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I’m still hungry for more,” James said. “I’m confident that this organization wants the same. That’s what this organization has always been about. … So I’ve done that. We’ve done that. But I want to do it again.”
James is averaging 27.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.2 assists as a member of the Lakers, who hired Darvin Ham as head coach this summer to replace Frank Vogel.