LeBron James met with Los Angeles Lakers vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday to discuss his future with the Los Angeles Lakers. The two sides engaged in what was described as a “productive” discussion. However, no new agreement was reached, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Rich Paul, the CEO of Klutch Sports and James’ agent, said that both parties would continue to talk. There is also plenty of time for the two sides to agree, as the four NBA MVP winner has until June 30, 2023, to sign the extension or become an unrestricted free agent.
On Thursday, the 18-time All-Star became eligible for a two-year, $97.1 million extension with Los Angeles. The league’s collective bargaining agreement requires the maximum length of a contract for a player 38 or older to be two years.
“It is possible James could seek a one-year extension, worth $47 million for the 2023-24 season, with an additional year with a player option for 2024-25,” McMenamin said.
The meeting took place at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, according to the report. New Lakers coach Darvin Ham was also present.
One option is for James to sign a one-year extension worth $47 million for the 2023-24 season, with a player option for the following year.
Whatever happens with James’ contract extension, he has long wanted to play alongside his son, Bronny, who will not be able to enter the NBA Draft until 2024.
“My last year will be played with my son,” James said.
“Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”
It may be difficult to play together if he signs a long-term contract with anyone before seeing which team his son will end up with.
LeBron James and his representative Rich Paul of Klutch Sports met with Lakers VP of basketball ops and GM Rob Pelinka on Thursday regarding James’ eligible contract extension. Paul told ESPN the discussion was “productive” and both sides will continue a dialogue.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) August 4, 2022
Possibility of remaining with Lakers
James has had a fruitful 19-year career. Despite his age, he has been a consistent MVP candidate for the Lakers over the last two seasons. Last season, the 37-year-old averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in 56 games for the Lakers.
If the four-time MVP declines a long-term contract, the team will have a relatively clean cap sheet next summer, with only Anthony Davis and rookie Max Christie under contract. Talen Horton-Tucker and Damien Jones both have player options for next summer.
The Lakers have never been afraid to pay aging stars late in their careers. They extended Kobe Bryant’s contract while he was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.
Critics claimed that the decision hampered the Lakers’ efforts to rebuild. Fans, meanwhile, have argued the Lakers’ culture and willingness to take care of stars are the reasons they are consistently a top-tier player destination.
However, this year was a pivotal summer for the Lakers, who are attempting to reclaim their title. After winning the championship in 2020, the Lakers signed nine players aged 30 and up to veteran-minimum contracts in 2021.
It was a flawed strategy that contributed significantly to the Lakers’ struggles. The 2022 Lakers, led by Russell Westbrook, LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Carmelo Anthony, not only failed to make the playoffs but also failed to qualify for the play-in tournament.
To alter their strategy, the Lakers are reportedly looking to add at least one more outside shooter this offseason, either through trade or through the second wave of free agency.
The Lakers recently signed fifth-depth players Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones, Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr., and Juan Toscano-Anderson.